Dropped Labour candidate to stand as Independent

A left-wing former Labour candidate has announced she will stand as an Independent in the General Election after a row erupted over the party’s decision to withdraw backing for her.

Faiza Shaheen confirmed her plans to contest the seat of Chingford and Woodford Green on July 4, pitching herself as a “progressive alternative” and claiming constituents feel “disenfranchised” by her deselection.

Ms Shaheen accused Labour of operating a “hierarchy of racism” when she was dropped as a candidate after liking a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter, that allegedly downplayed antisemitism allegations.

In a statement posted on social media on Wednesday, she said: “I have reached this decision following hundreds of messages from people in my community, who say there are no options left for them. They are tired of the Tories but now feel they can’t trust Labour.”

Her decision causes a headache for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has denied accusations that he is purging the Labour left to improve its electoral prospects.

It comes after former leader Jeremy Corbyn hit out at his successor as he handed his nomination papers in to officially stand as an Independent candidate in Islington North on Wednesday.

Mr Corbyn accused Labour of “trying to get rid of as many left candidates as they can”, after he was banned from standing for the party as part of efforts to “tear antisemitism out of our party by the roots”.

He was suspended in 2020 after refusing to fully accept the  Equality and Human Rights Commission’s findings that the party broke equality law when he was leader and said antisemitism had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

Mr Corbyn pointed to the treatment of Diane Abbott, who remains Labour’s candidate in Hackney North and Stoke Newington, as well as Ms Shaheen’s deselection.

He said: “I think it’s deplorable. Diane has suffered more abuse than any other MP, probably as much abuse as all MPs put together sometimes, yet she’s stoically gone through it all and I think she should be admired as a woman who set the trend and inspired so many people to get involved in politics.

“Surely she’s the most valuable asset.

“Likewise Faiza, a fantastic candidate, very knowledgeable person, a great economist. People like that you need in Parliament, you don’t need to destroy their image and destroy their personality to put somebody else in their place.”

Sir Keir, asked whether he could see why Mr Corbyn thought it was “disrespectful” that he had “disowned” much of the 2019 Labour manifesto, told reporters at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard: “I have as my focus the voters, not Jeremy Corbyn.

“And the voters in 2019 rejected the Labour Party very badly, the worst result since 1935.

“I think if you get rejected that badly you don’t go back to the voters and say we were right, what were you doing?

“You change your Labour Party and that’s why I’ve changed the Labour Party and in particular made it a party that always puts country first and party second.”

A Labour spokesman said: “We are focussed on electing a Labour government and delivering the change that people in Chingford and Woodford Green and across the country need.”

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