Labour member to stand against party

The Labour party faces a split in its vote in the up-coming Brent East by-election after a party member announced he would stand as an independent candidate in protest at the party's stance on Iraq, foundation hospitals and culture of "spin" and cronyism.

Harold Immanuel, a lawyer and a Labour member for 27 years, announced yesterday his intention to stand in the London constituency to "give voters the opportunity to send a strong message of disaffection to the Government."

But his decision to enter the race could boost the chances of the Liberal Democrats who believe they are within striking distance of defeating Labour.

Mr Immanuel has won the backing of the independent MP Dr Richard Taylor, who in a notorious upset for Labour at the last election, defeated the party's sitting candidate in Wyre Valley on a pro-NHS platform.

Mr Immanuel who faces eviction from the Labour party, is confident he will attract the votes of Labour supporters who object to the Government's "creeping privatisation" of public services.

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