By: Abdus Hamid:
Whilst we celebrate the Conservative Party’s landslide victory on Thursday 12th December, we must pause to reflect on the loss that Conservative Friends of Bangladesh (CFOB) has personally incurred by losing its Founder President Anne Main.
Anne Main lost her St Albans seat which she held for over fifteen years and failed to be crowned as the rightful MP of St Albans which was lost to the Liberal Democrats. Before becoming an MP, Anne worked as a primary school teacher and has been at the inception of Conservative Friends of Bangladesh when it was founded in 2006 at the Conservative Party conference in Bournemouth.
No other individual in the last fifteen years can lay claim to have done so much for bilateral relation between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom. In 2006, during CFOB’s inception; Anne had the foresight to grasp that the Conservative Party needed to recognise the aspirational work ethic of the UK Bangladeshi Community. She set about helping to create Conservative Friends of Bangladesh with like minded British Bangladeshis and changed the political landscape of Bangladeshi’s living in the UK. CFOB’s message illustrates that the Conservative Party is indeed an inclusive party and believed in diversity. CFOB is now one of the most influential friend’s group within the Party boasting over five hundred active members and supporters.
During the 2007 Bangladesh military rule when the opposition leader Sheikh Hasina was expelled from Bangladesh she chose to come to the United Kingdom and was received warmly by CFOB. It was with the help and assistance of Anne Main then MP for St Albans which allowed Sheikh Hasina to safely return to Bangladesh and fight the 2007 national elections which she won convincingly.
Under the stewardship of Anne, CFOB was able to arrange its very first social action project in 2011 to Bangladesh which allowed international charities working in Bangladesh to showcase their vital work to the Conservative Party. Then, in 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2019, Anne led CFOB to Bangladesh on numerous social action trips. During the 2017 visit making an important trip to the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazaar where she along with other visiting MP’s Paul Scully, Will Quince and Bob Blackman saw at first-hand the atrocities committed by the military junta of Burma. On their return, Anne along with all the MP’s were able to lobby the Conservative Government to increase foreign aid to Bangladesh by over £80 million.
Anne has always put others before herself and her insistence on standing up for freedom and democracy is reflected by the sheer respect that the British Bangladeshi community have for her. Anne has always received praise by numerous political leaders of Bangladesh including current PM Shiekh Hasina and former PM Khaleda Zia who have continuously commended her for her passion and dedication in promoting a fair democratic process. The Bangladeshi community both in the United Kingdom and Bangladesh has lost a true ambassador of Bangladeshi causes. We hope to see Anne back in public office soon.
By: Abdus Hamid
Conservative Friends of Bangladesh