Green party’s Magid Magid says he wants to be a voice for young people and refugees
The departing lord mayor of Sheffield has said he intends to run in European elections in response to growing political turmoil and the rise of far-right groups.
Magid Magid, 29, said on Tuesday he wanted to become Yorkshire and the Humber’s first Green party MEP if the UK participated in the European elections due on 23 May.
Magid, who once declared Donald Trump to be banned from the city and who had the Imperial March from Star Wars played at his inauguration as lord mayor, said he was concerned about a rise in hate crime and wanted to be a voice for young people in Europe.
“If we look what Brexit has shown and the effect it had, there’s been a massive rise in hate crime across the country,” he said. “The far-right will be mobilising. This will be about the soul of Britain.”
He recalled a recent talk he gave where not one of 150 young people in the audience could name any of their MEPs, and he urged EU politicians to do more to engage with voters.
“I would want to be a voice and an advocate for refugees and young people in general,” Magid said. Minority ethnic communities were underrepresented at European level, he added.Advertisement
His vision is unapologetically pro-EU and he supports a people’s vote on Brexit. He blames a decade of austerity, rather than the EU, for social problems in Britain.
“Theresa May keeps changing her mind again and again, so the people should have the final say. We know a lot more now than we did before and no one was very informed,” he said.
Three of the area’s six current European representatives are from Ukip. Yorkshire and the Humber backed leave in the 2016 referendum.
The Green party has a total of three MEPs, all of them in the south of England.
In his year as lord mayor, Magid has proved a stark departure from the career politicians and bureaucrats that could be expected in local government. On his first day in office, his inauguration photo showing him squatting on a plinth in City Hall went viral.
As well as “banning” Trump (the council later said the mayor did not have the power to ban people from the city) and hosting a Mexican Solidarity Day, he has appeared on the main stage at the city’s 40,000-capacity Tramlines music festival, and invited the public to watch the Mamma Mia! sequel with him.
He said of his time in office: “I get people giving me shit every day on social media, but for every negative message there’s been 100 positive ones. People are tired of the status quo.”
Magid fled Somalia with his mother and sister when he was five years old, escaping rival militias after the government was overthrown. After an upbringing that was often difficult, during which time his mother receiving racist abuse, he went to the University of Hull to study zoology.
Following a year as president of the students’ union in Hull, he was elected as a Green councillor in 2016 and was nominated for lord mayor two years later.