Labour suffer general election blow after prominent candidate Naz Shah is taped calling regional party 'corrupt'

MP can then be heard telling a party member she needs 'letters' to discredit a selection contest that she lost

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Thursday 08 June 2017 14:20
Comments
Exclusive Naz Shah Phone call

Labour's final day of campaigning has suffered a blow after a prominent prospective MP was taped saying her regional party is “corrupt”.

Naz Shah, fighting to retain her seat in tomorrow's election, made the claim in 2015 in a recorded telephone call now passed to The Independent.

But during the conversation, Shah also appears to push another party member into creating letters that would discredit a selection process she had just lost.

In the call she can be heard saying she needs five letters, suggesting what they should say and who they might come from.

However, Ms Shah told The Independent she was simply encouraging others to raise what she believed to be valid grievances over the selection.

One local party figure who wished to remain anonymous said: “It's not right that we go into election without people knowing about all of this.”

The call took place in the wake of the 2015 selection process in Bradford West, in which Shah came third, losing out to winner Amina Ali.

In an apparent attempt to drum up evidence to overturn the result, she asks the party member to get “letters”.

She can be heard saying: “By morning…I need the letters…I need at least five.”

She adds: “You want me to text the template? All they need to say is, look that ‘we are not happy with what’s happened’, because they understand the process has been corrupt, that’s all they have to say.”

Going into more detail, Ms Shah later says: “One of them can say, ‘look we believe that we were asked on the day to vote for Amina Ali…we were told of which way to go’…one of them can say that.

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“One of them can say, a message from someone’s Mum, ‘loads of people came and told me what had happened, and I mention on my mum’s behalf, and my mum’s West Labour member’…one could be like that, but I need five yaar and I am working on my own.”

She goes on to highlight that the letters must be sent to Labour’s National Executive Committee, not the regional party which she brands as “corrupt”.

Shortly after the call, Amina Ali stood down as a candidate – citing an unwillingness to move her children to Bradford – and the resulting process of interviews led by prominent Labour MP Keith Vaz, resulted in Ms Shah being given the candidacy.

A spokesperson for Naz Shah’s campaign said: “This is all ancient history and doesn’t reflect Naz’s views on the regional Labour Party or any other section of our Party. There were plenty of Bradford West members who expressed their concerns at the initial selection process back in 2015, and Naz stands by her encouraging them to make their grievances heard.

“People trying to dig this sort of thing up now are clearly just trying to deflect from the fact they’ve lost the arguments in this election – tomorrow people in Bradford West have to choose who will be a strong voice for them in parliament and Naz is proud to be standing on her track record and Labour’s exciting offer of hope and a government delivering for the many, not the few.”

A Yorkshire and Humber Labour Party spokesperson said: “We’re proud to have Naz Shah as our candidate in Bradford West and urge people there to vote for her tomorrow to continue to have a strong voice standing up for them in Bradford and in parliament.”

Transcript

Caller: Salam Naz

Naz: Wasalm – Caller you alright

Caller: I am ok how are you doing

Naz: I’m good

Naz: Any news on this recording

Caller: Aah, give me about ten minutes, I will call you back

Naz: I also need, I really, really need, I need a conversation Caller. I need to have this done.

Caller: Right….so

Naz: By morning, I need the letters. I need at least five yaar (mate)

Caller: And what’s happening, have you made any progress or…?

Naz: I have made progress, but I need couple of more letters.

Caller: OK

Naz: Don’t worry I made, trust me, there is more progress in more areas than you think. I need it to be…

Caller: Well, there are people who have already sent letters, believe it or not, I’ll send, but there are all members…hello?

Naz: Yeah. How many are they, how many are… (inaudible) …the other problem, they can send them to region, but region are corrupt

Caller: No they sent it to NEC…straight to the NEC…you know addressed to all the you know people which ever…but I had people approach us saying that we’ve been not happy with the whole process and everything and we’ve written to…

Naz: Right, they need to write Ian McNicol direct

….pause….

Caller: Hi, sorry Naz just got cut off…hello?...Hello?

Naz: Bus yaar meri reception chali gai thee (mate, my reception went)

Caller: No problems…

Naz: You want me to text the template…all they need to say…look that we are not happy with what’s happened because they understand the process has been corrupt…that’s all they have to say…

Caller: Just two liners

Naz: Just two lines, one paragraph.

Caller: Ah, right, ok

Naz: One of them, one of them, one of them can say, ‘look we believe that we were asked on the day to vote for Amina Ali, we were told of which way to go by people who were (an individual) supporters. That’s all they have to say. One of them can say that. One of them can say, a message from someone’s mum, ‘loads of people came and told me what had happened’…

Caller: yeah…hello

Naz: …’and I mention on my mum’s behalf and my mum’s West Labour member’…one could be like that but I need five yaar and I am working on my own….’

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