Blocked British-Pakistani candidate quits Labour Party over 'hierarchy of racism', Islamophobia

Left-winger had been due to contest Chingford and Woodford Green seat held by Iain Duncan Smith

Murtaza Ali Shah
Blocked British-Pakistani Labour Party candidate Faiza Shaheen. — Reporter

LONDON: Blocked British-Pakistani Labour Party candidate and left-wing academic Faiza Shaheen has dramatically quit the Labour party and accused it of a “hierarchy of racism”.

The left-winger had been due to contest the Chingford and Woodford Green seat held by Iain Duncan Smith but she was told on Wednesday that the party was suspending her after she liked social media posts that criticised Israel and its actions in Gaza.

Shaheen resigned after the decision to block her became official today, when Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) declined to nominate her. 

The politician has been vocal in her opposition to Islamophobia and racism within the Labour party and Labour leader Kier Starmer never liked her over her views.

The move clears the path for her potentially to stand against Labour as an independent. She said she would make an announcement on Wednesday.

"Since the Conservatives won power in 2010, I have used all the tools available to me — from my research to my activism — to fight them on public spending cuts, inequality and divisive narratives. That is why to leave the Labour Party now, on the cusp of finally seeing the Tories out of government and a time when I should be celebrating, is crushing," Shaheen said.

She added that she was dropped as a candidate through a “sham process” and for “spurious reasons”.

She said she had suffered “unfair treatment, bullying and hostility” within the party.

Shaheen further stated that she had been penalised for describing her own experiences of Islamophobia as she hit out at what she said was a “hierarchy of racism” in the party.

"Being removed as a candidate has been cruel and devastating, especially after local voters and party members have placed so much faith in me.

“I cannot, in all conscience, continue to contribute to a party that seems to think so little of people like me and has moved so far away from my values," she added.

On Thursday night Labour selected Shama Tatler, a member of the Jewish Labour Movement, as its candidate for the Chingford and Woodford Green seat.

A spokesperson for the left-wing Momentum group said: “Once again, Keir Starmer’s hyper-factional war on the Left has created an almighty mess for Labour.

“In Faiza Shaheen, Labour had a respected, popular, local candidate democratically selected by local party members. But instead of supporting her, Starmer’s allies decided to purge this campaigner against inequality on spurious grounds and parachute in one of their own clique from outside the constituency.”

Meanwhile, a Labour spokesperson said: “We are focused on electing a Labour government and delivering the change that people in Chingford and Woodford Green and across the country need.”