Ali Milani is the 25-year old Labour candidate who could keep Boris Johnson out of Downing Street. Since the announcement of the pre-Christmas election, he’s been visiting hundreds of homes in the Uxbridge constituency. When talking to people, he emphasises that he cares about the local people and knows about their needs and burning issues. He never fails to mention Boris Johnson’s absence. The Prime Minister has been busy travelling the length and breadth of Britain. As a result, his constituents haven’t seen much of him. This lack of on-the-ground presence has Ali Milani hoping for a historic upset. Could he be the first MP in history to unseat a Prime Minister?
Ali Milani – immigrant turned Labour candidate
Ali came to the UK at the age of five from Iran. He lives in a bedsit in the Uxbridge/South Ruislip constituency. Unlike Johnson, it doesn’t take more than a minute to view his home: a double-bed a few feet away from the kitchen, and the bathroom. As he gives the Guardian reporter a quick tour, he explains why he wants to represent the local people. Ali’s grown up here and knows the issues. Although some parts of the West London constituency are affluent other parts are less well-off.
He didn’t go to Eton like his main rival. Instead, he grew up in a social housing estate in Northwest London with his mum. With a degree in politics in his back pocket, Milani feels he’s got a real chance of causing an electoral upset. Although the area has traditionally voted Conservative, many locals feel their MP has failed them by his absence. The Tory party has also ranked Uxbridge South Ruislip among the at-risk constituencies.
During the campaign, Johnson hasn’t been at the doorsteps in Uxbridge to hear about the issues troubling the locals.
Uxbridge South Ruislip constituency – the issues
The constituency voted Remain by 57 per cent in 2016, indicating that Boris Johnson may not even have the confidence of all the Conservative voters. Moreover, Milani has strong ties to Uxbridge University, and over the past few weeks, he’s been working with Momentum to canvass heavily throughout the whole area.
Only a few miles away, you’ve got the Grenfell Towers which many see as one of the starkest reminders of Tory austerity. Constituents are also concerned about the expansion of Heathrow which many oppose, but Johnson blatantly propagated.
Ali Milani – What are his chances? The latest YouGov poll
In the last election, Boris Johnson was only a little over 5’000 votes ahead of his nearest rival. The latest opinion polls indicate he’ll be able to keep his seat. However, the Labour vote together with the Lib Dem vote could lose the PM his seat. Whether voters will respond to those urging for tactical voting, remains to be seen. It looks like it would take Lib Dem supporters to vote for Milani to make this historic upset come about.