Rosena Allin-Khan

Rosena Chantelle Allin-Khan (born 1977)[1] is a British doctor and politician who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Tooting since the 2016 by-election. She has served as Shadow Secretary of State for Mental Health since 2020. She stood as a candidate for the 2020 Labour Party deputy leadership election, ultimately coming second to Angela Rayner.[2] She was previously Shadow Minister for Sport between October 2016 and January 2020.

Rosena Allin-Khan

Allin-Khan in 2019
Shadow Secretary of State for Mental Health[n 1]
Assumed office
6 April 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byBarbara Keeley (Mental Health and Social Care)
Shadow Minister for Sport
In office
9 October 2016  14 January 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byClive Efford
Succeeded byCatherine West
Member of Parliament
for Tooting
Assumed office
16 June 2016
Preceded bySadiq Khan
Majority14,307 (24.5%)
Member of Wandsworth Council
for Bedford
In office
22 May 2014  3 May 2018
Personal details
Rosena Chantelle Allin-Khan

1977 (age 4344)
Tooting, London, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materBrunel University
Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
WebsiteOfficial website

After completing her medical studies, she earned a master's in public health. Before returning to work in British hospitals, she worked in Gaza and Israel, Africa, and Asia.

Early life and education

Rosena Chantelle Allin-Khan was born in Tooting.[3][4] Her parents were both musicians: her Polish mother had been a singer in the Polish girl group Filipinki, and met her father, originally from Pakistan, while the band was on tour in London.[5] After having two children together, the couple separated. Rosena's mother worked at three jobs to support the girl and her brother.[5]

Allin-Khan was educated at Trinity St Mary's Primary School, Balham, followed by what she has called "a good school", The Grey Coat Hospital.[6][7] But her disappointing A-level grades, two Es and a U, dashed her hopes of being accepted to study medicine.[8] Instead, she studied medical biochemistry at Brunel University, funding her education through a series of part-time jobs and establishing a strong record.[5] She was accepted to study medicine at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, where she was assisted by scholarships.[5]

Medical career

After qualifying as a doctor, Allin-Khan worked at the Royal London and Homerton Hospitals.[9] She also completed a Master's degree in public health.[10] Following this, she worked as a humanitarian aid doctor in Gaza and Israel, Africa, and Asia.[11][12]

Prior to her election to the House of Commons, she worked as a junior doctor in the accident and emergency department at St George's Hospital in Tooting.[7][9] In addition to her parliamentary and ministerial work, Allin-Khan continues to work occasional shifts at St George's Hospital during parliamentary recesses.[13][14]

Political career

Allin-Khan speaking at a hustings during the deputy leadership campaign in February 2020

Allin-Khan's work in public health also led her to become active in local politics. She was elected as a councillor on Wandsworth Council for Bedford Ward in Balham, serving from 2014 to 2018.[15][16] She served as deputy leader of the council's Labour group.[5][7][9]

Allin-Khan was selected as the Labour Party candidate for the Tooting constituency, after the seat became vacant in May 2016; the sitting MP, Sadiq Khan, had resigned after he had won that year's London mayoral election.[7]

Allin-Khan's by-election campaign emphasised her local, working-class roots and Polish-Pakistani ancestry.[17] When the election results were announced, Allin-Khan read a tribute to Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen who was murdered on the day of the by-election.[18]

She campaigned to remain in the EU during the 2016 Brexit referendum, and later campaigned with the same position for a second referendum on the issue.[19][20][21]

In October 2016, Allin-Khan was appointed Shadow Minister for Sport.[22] While in this position, she pledged to introduce safe standing at football matches in the UK from the 2020/21 season, if Labour won the next election.[23][24] She further campaigned to have England's semi-final match against Croatia during the 2018 World Cup to be shown on big screens in public. She said that the St George's Flag had become associated with the far-right, and was pleased that the success of England in the World Cup had helped reclaim the flag for the wider population.[25]

Allin-Khan retained her seat in the 2017 general election and the 2019 general elections. She received a higher number of votes in the first of these elections, strengthening her position,[26] but falling back slightly in the 2019 election.[27]

Allin-Khan stood as a candidate in the 2020 Labour Party deputy leadership election. During the campaign, she said that she would be a unifying candidate, and highlighted her working-class background, and experience as a doctor.[1][28] She ultimately received 77,351 (16.8%) of first preference votes, and 113,858 (26.1%) in the final round, coming second to Angela Rayner.[2][29]

She was appointed as Shadow Minister for Mental Health in Keir Starmer's first shadow cabinet, shadowing Nadine Dorries.[30] Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, Allin-Khan has been working 12-hour shifts at St George's Hospital in Tooting, in addition to her job as an MP and a shadow minister.[31][32]

She called for more mental health support to NHS staff during the pandemic, noting that there was a "rise in suicides, self-harm and suicidal ideation among frontline NHS and care staff" due to "a lack of PPE, an increased workload ... and witnessing more patients die".[33][34] She also criticised the UK Government for being too slow in acting, saying that it should have sooner introduced measures such as the lockdown and widespread testing.[35]

In October 2020, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards rebuked Allin-Khan for breaching the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament. As this was Allin-Khan's third breach of the rules, the matter was referred to the Parliamentary Committee on Standards.[36][37]

In the 2021 British shadow cabinet reshuffle, she was made a Shadow Secretary of State.

Personal life

Allin-Khan is married and lives in Tooting with her husband, who is ethnic Welsh.[5] She is a Muslim.[5] The couple have two daughters.[3][7]

She is an amateur boxer, training at Balham Boxing Club. Allin-Khan also serves as the team doctor.[5]


  1. She attended Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Mental Health from 2020 to 2021. In May 2021, her role was promoted to Secretary of State for Mental Health.


  1. Proctor, Kate (7 January 2020). "Labour must ditch 'ideological purity', says Rosena Allin-Khan". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  2. "Leaderhip Elections 2020 Results". The Labour Party. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  3. Nickerson, James (7 October 2011). "Tooting by-election: Dr Rosena Allin-Khan chosen by Labour in battle to secure Sadiq Khan's former seat". City A.M. Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  4. "Labour's Rosena Allin-Khan wins Tooting by-election". BBC News. 17 June 2016. Archived from the original on 17 June 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  5. "Dr Rosena Allin-Khan on why she's a knock-out choice for Tooting MP". London Evening Standard. 20 May 2016. Archived from the original on 9 July 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  6. See 12:46 in this video
  7. Gayle, Damien (14 May 2016). "Junior A&E doctor selected as Labour candidate for Tooting". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  8. Rachel Wearmouth, Rosena Allin-Khan Interview: Labour Deputy Leader Hopeful Says Growing Up In Poverty 'Puts Fire In Your Belly', Huffington Post, 10 January 2020, accessed 14 June 2020
  9. "Allin-Khan, Dr Rosena, MP (Lab) Tooting, since June 2016 | WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO". doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U287708. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  10. "Wonder woman – meet the multi-talented A&E MP | Magazine". Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  11. Sherwood, Harriet (3 August 2019). "I called out Palestinian suffering – and was met by antisemitic abuse". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  12. Bayley, Sian (12 December 2019). "The election results for Tooting". getwestlondon. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  13. "Rosena Allin-Khan: 'I'll continue A&E work as Labour's deputy leader'". Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  14. Segalov, Michael (26 April 2020). "Sunday with Rosena Allin-Khan MP: 'I've been doing shifts on the NHS frontline'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  15. "Bedford ward results 2014". Wandsworth Borough Council. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  16. "Bedford ward results 2018". Wandsworth Borough Council. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  17. Quinn, Ben (17 June 2016). "Labour's Rosena Allin-Khan holds Tooting in byelection". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 17 June 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  18. Press Association (17 June 2016). "Labour's Rosena Allin-Khan wins Tooting by-election". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 17 June 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  19. Dance, Seb (19 March 2020). "Labour's pro-EU choice for deputy leader". The New European. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  20. "Labour frontbencher takes part in second referendum rally". Shropshire Star. 9 December 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  21. Allin-Khan, Rosena [@DrRosena] (1 October 2019). "Proud to be standing alongside @CllrFleur and @MarshadeCordova in Wandsworth - we're all committed to remaining in the EU and have long supported a public vote on Brexit" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 May 2020 via Twitter.
  22. "Dr Rosena Allin-Khan". MyParliament. Archived from the original on 12 February 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  23. Allin-Khan, Rosena (14 October 2019). "Exclusive: Labour pledge to introduce safe standing before 2020/21 season". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  24. Tolhurst, Alain (25 February 2020). "Labour to bring back standing at Premier League matches from next year if it wins election". Politics Home. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  25. Millar, James (25 February 2020). "Rosena Allin-Khan: Gareth Southgate's England have helped reclaim the St George cross from the far-right". Politics Home. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  26. Pittam, David (9 June 2017). "Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan almost doubles previous votes in Labour triumph". Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  27. "Rosena Allin-Khan holds Tooting for Labour". Wandsworth Times. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  28. "Labour Deputy Leadership candidates pitch to i readers". inews. 4 March 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  29. Rowena Mason (4 April 2020). "Keir Starmer wins Labour leadership election". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  30. Rajiv Syal (6 April 2020). "Ed Miliband returns to Labour frontbench in Keir Starmer reshuffle". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  31. Iqbal, Nosheen (10 May 2020). "Rosena Allin-Khan: 'If Matt Hancock found my tone difficult, that's on him'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  32. Morris, James (5 May 2020). "Backlash as Matt Hancock tells Labour minister to 'watch her tone' over coronavirus criticism". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  33. McCann, Jaymi (2 May 2020). "NHS staff are 'breaking down' on the frontline, Labour has warned". inews. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  34. Maciuca, Andra (26 April 2020). "MP says mental health issues and family losses 'could have been avoided'". The New European. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  35. "Earlier lockdown could have saved lives, says shadow minister". Express & Star. 26 April 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  36. "Dr Rosena Allin-Khan - Committee on Standards - House of Commons".
  37. "Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan told to repay £1,142 for third Commons rule breach". Sky News.