‘No way back into Labour Party’, Faiza Shaheen tells supporters at rally

More than a hundred supporters gathered outside a supermarket in north-west London to hear the barred Labour candidate speak.

Piers Mucklejohn
Friday 31 May 2024 21:55 BST
Former Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen addresses supporters (Piers Mucklejohn/PA)
Former Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen addresses supporters (Piers Mucklejohn/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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Former Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen has said she does not think “there’s any way back” for her into the party as she addressed a rally in support of her General Election bid.

Ms Shaheen had hoped to contest the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency as a Labour candidate, running against Conservative Sir Iain Duncan Smith, but the party allegedly blocked her from standing over past posts on social media website X.

More than a hundred supporters gathered outside a supermarket in Highams Park, north-west London, on Friday evening.

Ms Shaheen told supporters: “I must be honest – after the way I’ve been treated, I don’t think there’s any way back for me into the Labour Party.

“Look at what they’ve done to me, what they’ve done to Diane (Abbott), to make us grovel and beg – no.”

Amid cries from supporters encouraging an independent bid for the seat, the academic added: “I’m going to make some decisions with the team over the next few days and I may ask you to do something really big for all of us.”

Attendees held signs saying “#WeStandWithFaiza” as shouts of “shame on Labour!” and “shame on Starmer!” punctuated an introductory speech made atop the makeshift stage of a wooden bench.

Ms Shaheen’s former campaign organiser branded the meeting at which her candidacy was barred a “kangaroo court”.

Other speakers included Ms Shaheen’s husband, local business owners and Kevin Courtney, former general secretary of the National Education Union.

Ms Shaheen said: “Just seeing you here today has filled me with so much faith and so much hope.”

Activists held a rally in support of Diane Abbott’s candidacy in Hackney earlier this week.

The Hackney North and Stoke Newington hopeful is “free” to stand as a Labour candidate in the General Election, party leader Sir Keir Starmer confirmed this afternoon.

One supporter said she thought Ms Shaheen was the victim of a “purge of the left” and had been discriminated against as a woman of colour.

Jill Stakem, 43, told the PA news agency: “I think Labour needs to talk about the double standards within their party.

”They’re accepting ex-Tory members with horrific profiles and histories but suddenly what Faiza has accidentally said or tweeted, or liked a tweet, from 10 years ago, it’s not acceptable.

“They need to let the double standards go.”

Ms Stakem and other supporters said they would vote for Ms Shaheen if she ran as an independent over Shama Tatler, who Labour has since announced as its candidate for the seat.

Finishing her speech, Ms Shaheen was joined by her husband and baby to applause and cheers from supporters.

In a statement before the rally, the organisers said: “We are appalled by the treatment of Faiza Shaheen, who was democratically selected to represent our community.

“We call for her immediate reinstatement as the Labour Party candidate and the right to vote for her to be our local MP.”

Ms Shaheen unsuccessfully contested the Chingford and Woodford Green seat in the 2019 election, gaining 45.9% of votes – 1,262 behind Sir Iain.

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