Search

Baroness Hussein-Ece: Highbury peer on why she loves Chapel Market, and her fears about Brexit

PUBLISHED: 16:24 29 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:37 02 January 2018

Baroness Meral Hussein Ece of Highbury. Picture: Polly Hancock

Baroness Meral Hussein Ece of Highbury. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Baroness Hussein-Ece of Highbury was the first Turkish-Cypriot woman to be elected to public office in the UK. The Lib Dem equalities spokeswoman tells the Gazette what makes her tick.

Baroness Meral Hussein Ece, at home in Highbury. Picture: Polly Hancock Baroness Meral Hussein Ece, at home in Highbury. Picture: Polly Hancock

Becoming a Hackney councillor in 1994 made Meral Hussein-Ece the first woman from a Turkish-Cypriot background to be elected to public office in the UK.

“My message as a councillor was: we live here, our kids were born here, so we have to get engaged and make our contribution,” Baroness Hussein-Ece, a Lib Dem peer since 2010, told the Gazette.

Since then, she’s strived to be a voice for minority communities in north London – including Islington, where she’s spent most of her life. Her full title is Baroness Hussein-Ece of Highbury.

“My father came over from Cyprus in 1948 to live in Islington,” she said, “then my mother came in 1953 to visit her brother, but she met my father and they got married. They set up a business on Essex Road.

“The community cohesion is so strong - diversity is the thread that runs through it all. When I go down to Chapel Market I see faces who’ve worked there for years, and I think that’s the strength of it – the people who remain in Islington.”

Born to Turkish-Cypriot parents in 1963, Baroness Hussein-Ece grew up in Ockendon Road.

“I ended up getting a job with Islington libraries,” she said, “and quickly got into community politics from that.”

Baroness Meral Hussein Ece, at home in Highbury. Picture: Polly Hancock Baroness Meral Hussein Ece, at home in Highbury. Picture: Polly Hancock

While there, she embarked upon one of her proudest achievements to date – the first domestic violence project for Turkish-Kurdish and Turkish-Cypriot women.

“These were the days when there was so much domestic violence but women didn’t go out of their immediate circles to report it – or they didn’t know they could,” she said. “We got funding and employed support workers to enable women to get protection, education, and employment.”

As she’s advanced up the political ladder, her work for the most disadvantaged has continued. Since June 2010 she’s sat in the House of Lords as the Lib Dem spokeswoman for equalities. Just before the parliamentary break for Christmas, she raised the question of Brexit’s impact on these communities.

“I asked what impact assessments had been done for Brexit’s effect on inequality. We know it’s disproportionately likely to hurt people from ethnic minority backgrounds, but we don’t know how. My question was simply: when they replace EU laws, how will they make sure they don’t dumb down protections on inequalities? I did not get a satisfactory answer.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

40 minutes ago

A woman who fell asleep at Finsbury Park station on Sunday woke up to find a pervert kissing her.

45 minutes ago

Great Northern trains running through Finsbury Park will continue south of King’s Cross from May, offering an alternative to the packed Northern Line for rush-hour commuters.

10:34

A drunk bus conductor illegally got behind the wheel of a double decker bus and crashed it on a bomb site after driving several miles.

Darren Osborne, the alleged perpetrator of the Finsbury Park terror attack, sat back casually in his seat as shocking CCTV of the incident was played in court this afternoon.

Yesterday, 16:47

The two police officers driving the cars chasing Lewis Johnson before he crashed his Vespa and died in Clapton Common will not face charges, the Gazette can reveal.

Darren Osborne, the man accused of carrying out the Finsbury Park terror attack, had corresponded with far-right activist Jayda Fransen, a court heard.

Yesterday, 12:34

Plans to hold an immersive theatre show in Finsbury have led to dozens of protest letters from neighbours who say it represents a “full-on onslaught to the residential area”.

Yesterday, 11:00

Islington Council has been advised to consider sprinkler systems for all 126 of its high-rise housing blocks.

PROMOTED CONTENT

“With teenagers there’s a lot of banter, and you can really establish a relationship. You have to trust teenagers to make their own decisions.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now