Baiju Thittala for East Chesterton
City Candidate for East Chesterton
I was born in Kerala, India, in 1977, where my father was an agricultural worker. As a teenager, my dream was to be a lawyer and politician, but I had to leave my studies at the age of 18 to support my family by working in a tearoom. Sixteen years ago, I moved to Cambridge with my wife and took the opportunity to return to my studies while working as a care assistant, eventually graduating from Anglia Ruskin University in 2013 with a 2.1 in LLB (Hons). After that I took a course in Employment Law at the University of East Anglia and a Legal Practice Course from Anglia Ruskin, finally qualified as a solicitor in 2019 and am now practicing as criminal defence lawyer in a local firm.
I became involved in community activism in 2010 as an active member of the Indian Workers’ Association, running employment awareness sessions for South Indian communities across the UK. I’ve also lobbied Parliament, with the support of our local MP, against the unreasonable, disproportionate and discriminatory English language standard requirements for non-EU nurses. For me, politics is all about advocating for the rights of working people.
In 2018 I was elected to represent East Chesterton in the by-election, becoming one of only a handful of first-generation BAME councillors in the history of the City Council. Since then I have continued to fight an a range of issues to create a fairer society for everyone, particularly the underprivileged. I’m the lead councillor for Equalities and sit on the Equalities Panel that meets four times a year and I’m also the Vice Chair of the Licensing Committee.
Last year I moved a motion at full council calling on members to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, a motion that was passed unanimously. I’ve also called on the council to lobby the Nursing and Midwifery Council for an end to disproportionate and unfair treatment of non EU nurses. That fight continues. I am totally committed, as a Labour Party member, to supporting my community as a way of repaying the support I received myself when I arrived here. I represent them on various matters and concerns, predominantly working in the NHS and private health care sector.
As a councillor, my role is to give marginalised groups a voice, and I hope to continue that work if I am re-elected on 6 May.