SAJJAD Karim, a Blackburn-born, Pendle-bred lad, who lives in the Ribble Valley, is bidding to become president of the European Parliament.

MEP Mr Karim, 43, who lives in Simonstone with his wife Zahida, and children Bilal, 14, and Rabia, 11, has been nominated by the Conservative and Reformists Group for the presidential role.

And lawyer Mr Karim reckons he stands a good chance of winning if he can get the backing of non-extremists in Brussels.

In an exclusive interview with the Lancashire Telegraph, Mr Karim called on other parties to back him against extremist parties which have picked up seats in the Parliament.

He said: “The other parties have not nominated candidates yet, and my call to them is to put aside party politics and unify behind me against the extremists.

“I think if MEPs are minded to reinforce the core values that we put in place many years ago then yes, I have a very strong chance. I have a 10-year work record which should give them the confidence to stand behind me.”

Mr Karim, a cricket lover with a passion for Lancashire Cricket Club, is no stranger to extremism having been in Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel when it was stormed by gun-toting terrorists, and also faced a horde of anti-Muslim protesters who pitched up outside his house.

He said: “They were very aggressive and my wife and children were petrified. It was frightening that, in this day and age, you can have the equivalent of the Klu Klux Klan on your doorstep.”

Mr Karim said he was delighted to have been nominated. He said: “It is an honour, and recognition of 10 years of service within the Parliament.”

He added that if he was succ-essful, he would champion EU reforms aimed at helping small and medium enterprises, and making national governments more involved in the European decision-making process.