Chingford News

Faiza Shaheen loses Labour endorsement in Chingford race

In an emotional Newsnight interview, Faiza said she was ‘in shock’ at losing Labour’s backing after complaints from local party members over historic and recent tweets, reports Marco Marcelline

Credit: Tom Oldham

Faiza Shaheen has said she is “in shock” after losing Labour’s backing for her parliamentary bid.

The Labour left-winger, who came close to taking Iain Duncan Smith’s Chingford and Woodford Green seat in 2019, told BBC Newsnight that she had been called to a meeting with Labour’s National Executive Committee over historic and recent social media posts. 

In 2022, Faiza was selected to fight the seat for a second time by more than 200 members of her constituency party, beating her closest challenger Bilal Mahmood who received just over 160 votes.

Speaking on Newsnight on Wednesday (29th May), Faiza revealed she had received an email stating she would “frustrate Labour’s purpose”.

At times emotional, Faiza criticised the party for “briefing press” that she would be deselected before telling her.

She told presenter Victoria Derbyshire: “I’m just in a state of shock, to be honest. I’m out campaigning and my phone’s blowing up; they briefed the press before they even had the decency to call me or talk to me.”

Faiza added: “There was a meeting yesterday (28th May), [and] my baby cried through half of it so I don’t even know how they came to a decision because I couldn’t even hear their questions.”

The meeting was reportedly called after local Jewish party members had complained about a total of 14 tweets Faiza had shared or liked from 2014 to 2024. 

One of the tweets she had liked mentioned the ‘Israel lobby’. A quote tweet of an old Jon Stewart sketch, it read: “Everytime you say something even mildly critical of Israel you’re immediately assailed by hordes of hysterical people who explain to you how you’re completely wrong and biased against Israel. 

“Moreover, you can’t easily ignore them because those are not just random people, they tend to be friends, or people who move in the same circles as you. Those people are mobilised by professional organisations.”

Faiza apologised for the tweet on Newsnight, saying: “The line that’s there about ‘professional organisations’ plays into a trope and I absolutely don’t agree with that, and I’m sorry about that, and I expressed I was sorry in the [NEC] meeting.”

She continued: “That’s one tweet. I’ve organised an interfaith vigil with a local rabbi after Hamas’ [7th October] attacks. Three of those were about the Green Party, me liking my friend’s tweet before I even joined the Labour Party. One of them was about my experiences of Islamophobia in the party; how am I not allowed to talk about my experiences of Islamophobia and the double standards that I’ve seen and that we see with Diane Abbott for instance?

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“Honestly, I’m so shocked right now to be treated this badly after being such an active member of the party.”

A source in the Chingford and Woodford Green Labour Party told the Echo that Keir Starmer and London Labour had “walked straight into a trap” set by local party members who “never got over the fact that Faiza was way more popular locally than their preferred candidate”.

He continued: “[Labour] are now planning to get rid of a candidate who has massively grown the Labour vote in what was a true-blue constituency, who is well loved, and who has worked incredibly hard to bring communities together.”

The local party member alleged that Faiza had been “on the receiving end of constant abuse and disinformation” since she was chosen as the candidate in 2019 and on her re-selection in 2022. 

Labour and Faiza’s office were contacted for comment.

The news comes barely a week after Faiza launched her campaign at an event in Chingford on Thursday where she argued that the country “desperately” needs a change of government.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday it was also announced that former RAF commander Calvin Bailey had been selected by the National Executive Committee (NEC) to stand in Leyton and Wanstead after John Cryer announced he will step down at the general election.

The NEC told the Echo that Labour was working to fill seats “as quickly as possible in line with emergency selection procedures”.

The move has prompted some backlash from local party members. One user, writing on X, said, “I’m sure he’s a nice bloke and competent but there was zero input from local members. Seems to have nothing to do with the area, but if you stamp your feet and insist on a career in politics, you get parachuted in. Things don’t change. Lame.”

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