Sheriff of Nottingham Shuguftah Quddoos on the Nottingham cuts and her suspension from the Labour Party

Photos: Chris Tregenza
Interview: Thom Bromhead
Friday 08 March 2024
reading time: min, words

Following on from famous film depictions by the likes of Alan Rickman and Matthew MacFadyen, Shuguftah Quddoos is the current Sheriff of Nottingham, a role which stretches back to the Norman conquest. We caught up with her on what has been quite a week on the council…


What powers does the Sheriff of Nottingham actually have? Is it all cancelling Christmas and reprimanding outlaws?

Sadly, none of those – though I’d never want to cancel Christmas! It’s a civic role so its non-political and I’m an ambassador for Nottingham. I do lots of visits to community and voluntary organisations across the city and I welcome people to the Council House, often for tea with the Sheriff. No swords involved!

What’s the best thing you’ve done so far as Sheriff?

Opening Notts Refugee Week in June and welcoming school groups to the Council House – I remember a visit from the school council at Woodlands special school. It’s been a real joy to inspire children and young people by having them visit us here.

How do you become Sheriff? Asking for a friend…

You have to be an elected councillor and have served a number of years, and then you’re invited by the leadership to be Sheriff for one year. The same system is used to become Lord Mayor. 

This week, you were, perhaps ironically as the Sheriff, the only Labour rebel who voted against the council’s budget. Can you tell me why you voted the way you did?

When I became Sheriff, I pledged to amplify the voice of people in this city, and I’ve spent the year out and about visiting projects like Jericho Road and Skilled Hands. I’ve seen and experienced the city’s vibrant communities in a new, refreshed way. I couldn’t, in good conscience, vote for these cuts when I think about the groups who will be impacted.

In every decision and vote I make my political compass is whether this will harm or benefit the people I represent. With this budget, I felt there was too much harm. I took my time to reach my decision and I’ve had sleepless nights, but at the end of the day, I had to do the right thing for my residents and colleagues at the council who are at serious risk of job cuts from this budget.


This has led to you being suspended by the Labour Party. Did you know this would happen before the vote and did it influence your decision?

I was aware that I would be disciplined as a result of choosing to vote against the budget. There is always a cost to making a difficult decision and I recognised this before we voted. The legal advice was scary, but I made the decision for my residents.

Campaigns like Resolve Nottingham and Save Our Services have started up in opposition to these cuts, will you be supporting their demands from within the council?

We need to have each other’s backs in the city. I really commend the teams at Resolve Nottingham and Save Our Services for their hard work so far. I presented both petitions to council on Monday and spoke in their favour. I will continue to do what I can to save vital services in the city like Nottingham Women’s Centre, whose building is at risk, or our arts organisations. The real work begins now that this budget has been passed.

Looking to the future, what do you think Nottingham can expect for the next few years, following this budget and the appointment of commissioners? (please say something hopeful)

I won’t sugarcoat the seriousness of the situation, but I’m going to use my voice, my time and my energies to mitigate the impact of these cuts. Nottingham is already coming together to oppose the worst of this budget with 12,000 people having signed the Resolve petition, so I’ll keep fighting alongside all the groups who want services and communities protected. I take hope from them – the kind of people who see a rocky road ahead and lace up their boots.

Sign the Resolve 'No To Nottingham Cuts' petition

Find out more about the Sheriff of Nottingham

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