From Kerala’s Kottayam to Westminster, Sojan Joseph’s inspiring journey

Running as a Labour Party candidate, Joseph's triumph over the incumbent Conservative MP Damian Green has brought a wave of pride to his hometown and the wider Kerala community.

ByDileep V Kumar

Published Jul 06, 2024 | 5:33 PM Updated Jul 07, 2024 | 12:27 PM

From Kerala’s Kottayam to Westminster, Sojan Joseph’s inspiring journey

In a historic political shift, the Labour Party has triumphed in the UK general election, ending 14 years of Conservative Government.

Keir Starmer, the newly elected Prime Minister, has pledged to build a “government of service” as he leads the country through a significant transition.

Amidst this sweeping change, a momentous victory resonates from the UK to Kerala’s Kottayam, as native Sojan Joseph has made history by winning the Ashford County in the election. He became the first Malayali to be elected to the UK Parliament.

Running as a Labour Party candidate, Joseph’s triumph over the incumbent Conservative MP Damian Green has brought a wave of pride to his hometown and the wider Kerala community.

Sojan Joseph

His close family circle stated that Sojan’s journey from Kottayam to becoming an MP in the UK Parliament is a story of perseverance, dedication, and the pursuit of service.

Sojan, who has been a devoted member of the National Health Services (NHS) for the past 22 years, left Kerala’s Kaippuzha for the UK in 2001.

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‘Ashford my home’

According to Sojan, he moved to Ashford in 2002 and has lived there with his wife Brita and three children, Hannah, Sara and Mathew ever since.

“I take pride in calling Ashford my home,” he said in his letter to voters during the election campaigning.

Sojan with his family

He also stated that he is a mental health nurse, who has worked in the NHS for the past 22 years and currently serves as Head of Nursing, Quality and Patient Safety.

“I started my NHS career at the Arundel unit based in the William Harvey Hospital as a junior nurse. I have been able to undertake many academic qualifications whilst working in the frontline, the highest being a master’s degree in Health Care Leadership,” Sojan said.

Sojan’s NHS stint

Sojan believes that his ‘lived experiences’ in the NHS, interactions with the patients and families, as well as educational opportunities have all contributed to developing a greater insight into the issues that matter most to the people.

“Consequently, a desire to develop practical solutions through collaboration and innovation has led me to pursue this current political candidacy,” he said.

Taking a dig at the incumbent MP Green, who represented Ashford since 1997, Sojan stated, “I believe that the MP for Ashford should be visible and stand up for the community. Someone who should address the problems that matter to the people of Ashford such as improved access to GP, Dental and hospital services, pothole-free roads, revitalising the town centre and bringing back Ashford International.”

He also assured the voters, “I believe that after 13 years of Tories harming our country, it’s time for the healing to begin. I have served the NHS for the past 22 years and am now ready to serve you in the Parliament.”

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Political journey, priorities

Going by the assurance he gave to the voters of Ashford, the newly elected MP’s priorities will be to rebuild NHS, make streets safer, breakdown barriers of opportunity, create a long-term plan for sustainable and affordable clean energy and support economic growth and stability.

It’s said that Sojan was drawn to the Labour Party’s principles of equality, and he joined the party in 2015. He first entered the political arena in 2023, when he was elected as the Labour councillor for Aylesford and East Stour.

Back in Kottayam, the news of Joseph’s win has been met with celebrations and a sense of accomplishment.

Those who are close to the family said that his story has inspired many, highlighting the possibilities that lie ahead for those who strive to make a difference, regardless of where they come from.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj)

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