British Turkish members of the Conservative Party have called on the community to show their support for Iain Duncan Smith, who has made repeated calls for direct flights to North Cyprus.
The group have arranged a solidarity day of canvassing with the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green on Saturday, 23 November. He has a marginal seat, with a majority of just 2,438 following the 2017 General Election. The constituency, which has a large Turkish Cypriot population, is being heavily targeted by Labour, whose candidate is Faiza Shaheen.
In an opinion piece for T-VINE Magazine, Chingford Conservative Councillor Ilkay Isa makes the case for backing former leader of the Conservative Party. She writes that Iain Duncan Smith “has not only listened to his Turkish Cypriot constituents’ concerns, but acted upon them”.
Cllr Isa outlines the impact of the current international isolation of North Cyprus, which means passengers flying to Ercan Airport “have to endure a touch-down in Turkey and change planes, adding time, cost and huge inconvenience”.
Mr Duncan Smith has described the situation as “manifestly unfair” and has been working with his Turkish Cypriots constituents and representatives of the UK community to lobby the British government for a solution. These include arranging meetings with Transport Minister Chris Grayling and when he was Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson. His actions have gone far beyond those of a normal constituency MP.
When constituents contact their local MP for help on an issue, they usually send a letter raising the matter with the relevant government minister and feedback on the response, and then forget about the issue, which is what most MPs contacted by British Turkish Cypriots have done.
“Iain has championed Turkish Cypriot rights publicly and consistently. We don’t have many friends in Parliament, and we owe it to him to back his campaign for re-selection,” Ms Isa told T-VINE.
British Turkish solidary day with Iain Duncan Smith MP: where & when to meet
British Turks wanting to show their support for Iain Duncan Smith can meet him on Saturday, 23 November.
The group is assembling by Morrisons Chingford, 6-7 Salisbury Hall Gardens, Chingford Road E4 8SN, at 11am.
There will be a photo call with the press. Afterwards, supporters can join Iain and his local team on the campaign trail, helping to deliver leaflets and talk to local constituents about why they should back him.
Photo © Mitchell Goldie, of local Conservatives out canvassing with Chingford and Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith, 3 Nov. 2019.