AS the founder of the British Kebab Awards, a beer brand innovator, and South Bank restaurant owner, Labour’s Ibrahim Dogus is out to prove his party isn’t as anti-business as people think.
An employer of over 60 people whose fifth annual kebab award was hosted by Radio 1 DJs Scott Mills and Chris Stark – and endorsed by the prime minister herself – Mr Dogus is running a pro-commerce and society campaign and says he is the “fresh young blood” to deliver it.
“I believe to achieve social justice we need prosperity and growth, and that means successful businesses,” he said.
“What’s more, businesses are run by people who are part of society and affected by its highs and lows, just like everyone else.”
The Remain voter is concerned with the uncertainty that leaving the European Union will bring for business, and pledges to go after the most advantageous deal on Brexit if he’s successful in his first bid to become a member of parliament.
Mr Dogus joined Labour in his teens after his family moved to the UK as refugees from Turkey, and has been campaigning for the party since Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997. The Labour candidate also made headlines following the Westminster attack as the restaurant owner who fed emergency service personnel on the scene for free from his nearby eatery.
“I saw first-hand the valiant efforts of our first responders,” he said.
“I have been consistently impressed by the work of the mayor as well, and I saw how Londoners just got on with what needed doing, showing admirable calm under pressure.”
Fifteen years ago Mr Dogus’ life was saved by the NHS after he was shot trying to break up Turkish mafia gang violence, an incident he believes was linked to his anti-drugs and anti-gang campaigning in North East London at the time.
As for the future of the NHS, Mr Dogus told City Matters: “It will take several years of hard work and probably some investment to undo the damage of Tory mismanagement and indifference.
“We have to bite the bullet and start re-building the NHS, the alternatives are pretty grim.”
With an unprecedented five Labour councillors elected to the City of London Corporation’s Common Council two months ago, Mr Dogus is optimistic people are recognising the appeal of the party locally.
“The bottom line is that the Conservative Party is short on innovative, fresh young blood. People who know me tend to describe me as restless or full of energy: I am always striving for new ways to innovate in business and create partnerships.”
“That is the approach I would bring to the City of London.”