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Dr Rosena Allin-Khan on her crowdfunding mum, a 'Ministry of Fabulosity', and dissecting Labour's election defeat

British politics is chock-full of stories of people overcoming adversity in an effort to make things better for others.

But few will compare to the journey taken by Rosena Allin-Khan, Labour MP for Tooting and newly-declared hopeful for deputy leader.

From grade-A student to school drop-out, she crowdfunded her way into Cambridge to study medicine and worked as a junior doctor on the A&E frontline before being elected an MP.

In a revealing and candid interview with ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand for the first Acting Prime Minister podcast of 2020, Allin-Khan talks of how her tough start in life shaped the person she would become.

Watch above or listen to the full episode to also hear:

  • How her mum crowdfunded to get her to Cambridge university
  • Why the government needs a Ministry of Fabulosity
  • Why Brexit hasn’t tempted her to get a Polish passport
  • How body popping in a dance off could save political debate
  • Why she’s approaching the Labour defeat like an NHS doctor
  • Putting social and elderly care would be at the heart of her manifesto
  • The hurt of losing Jo Cox
  • Why she’s ready to be a deputy leader
Allin-Khan tells Paul Brand of her plans for a 'Ministry of Fabulosity'. Credit: ITV News

Her Polish mother - who once starred in a girl band - and her TV repairman father from Pakistan divorced when Allin-Khan was young.

She reveals: "The upbringing was tough, and we certainly went on a journey as a family. I have a younger brother, five years younger than me, and we certainly experienced our fair share of what so many people in the country understand so well, which is what it's like to have to be really careful about what you eat and buy in the shops.

"We understand what it is like to have one heater in the house... it was tough but my mum worked three jobs to put food on the table. I had a series of part-time jobs rather young to supplement the income.

"My mum always told us that there were people who had it tougher than us.

"From a really young age, I always had that feeling that if ever we got ourselves out of this situation that I wanted to devote my life to helping others."

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Her recreation during the general election of the Love Actually 'card reveal' moment gave a hint to her more fun side.

And she tells ITV News that one of the things she would love to introduce as prime minister would be a "Ministry of Fabulosity".

She says: "It's a real thing. No nay-saying or giggling. It will have to be dominated by fabulous MPs come out with fabulous policies to shape the country.

"Some serious ones but some lighter more entertaining ones about how we see ourselves.

"There is room for traditional political debate ... then sometimes there's room for a dance-off. Because sometimes you need to know how your political representatives can represent themselves in real life. We all love a boogie!"

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Catch up with past episodes of Acting Prime Minister:

Acting Prime Minister offers politicians and public figures the keys to power then asks: 'What would you do now?' Credit: ITV News