• Thursday, July 25, 2024

UK

Faiza Shaheen alleges Labour has ‘problem with black and brown people’

Shaheen claimed she faced a systematic campaign of racism, Islamophobia and bullying.

Faiza Shaheen speaks at a gathering during a visit to Chingford in east London. (TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

BLOCKED Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen plans to challenge her deselection in court, saying that the party has “a problem with black and brown people” after a panel prevented her from running in in Chingford and Woodford Green.

Shaheen, who has accused the party of racism, Islamophobia, and bullying, claimed she faced a systematic campaign against her. She cited recent incidents, such as the removal of a local organiser from her team and being stopped from producing videos attributing inflation to “corporate greed,” as evidence to prove that the party has a problem with minority people.

“This campaign of prejudice, bullying and spiteful behaviour has finally been rewarded by Labour’s NEC [national executive committee] and my name has been added to the list of those not welcome in the candidate club. And it is no surprise that many of those excluded are people of colour,” she said in a statement.

“I have come to the inescapable conclusion that Labour, far from being a broad church encompassing different views, has an ingrained culture of bullying, a palpable problem with black and brown people, and thinks nothing of dragging a person’s good name through the mud in pursuit of a factional agenda, with no thought of the impact on committed members’ mental health and wellbeing.”

Her team confirmed she has engaged a lawyer to contest her exclusion, which was decided by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) panel. According to Labour’s rule book, members are entitled to dignity, respect, and fair treatment by the party.

Shaheen, who is an academic specialising in inequality and who grew up in the constituency, had run for the north-east London seat in 2019. She recounted being given only five and a half hours’ notice of the NEC panel meeting to discuss her social media activity, which she attended while caring for her baby and suffering from mastitis.

During the meeting, she was confronted with a dossier of liked posts on X, some dating back to 2014, with the most recent prompting a complaint from the Jewish Labour Movement.

Shaheen explained on BBC Newsnight that she did not recall liking the tweet in question, as it was during the middle of the night while she was breastfeeding.

She received the official notification of her exclusion via email on Wednesday (29) after the news had already been reported in the media. Shaheen contended that her baby’s crying during the panel meeting hindered her ability to fully participate.

Diane Abbott, who also faces potential exclusion from standing for Labour again, condemned the party’s treatment of Shaheen, labeling it “appalling” and questioned the rationale behind excluding left-wing candidates.

Despite Shaheen’s anticipated strong challenge against Tory candidate Iain Duncan Smith, her exclusion coincides with the selection of more centrist members as candidates, including Josh Simons, director of the pro-Starmer group Labour Together.

According to reports, Labour’s internal processes grant significant power to the NEC over selections in the event of a snap election, minimising grassroots involvement.

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones refuted claims of factional decisions regarding candidates like Abbott and Shaheen, stating that many left-wing Labour members continue to be endorsed as candidates in their constituencies.

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