Chingford News

Snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan backs Faiza Shaheen

The snooker giant, who lives in Woodford, said he was ‘definitely’ voting for independent candidate Faiza, while saying Chingford and Woodford Green did not need someone ‘without passion’, reports Marco Marcelline

Inset image credit: DerHexer, Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-sa 4.0

The world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has publicly backed independent candidate Faiza Shaheen in her bid to unseat Iain Duncan Smith in Chingford and Woodford Green.  

In a campaign video shared on X, the snooker giant, said he was “definitely” voting for Faiza who he described as a “massive part of the community”. He added: “I just think someone without passion, you know, dictating what goes on around this area isn’t going to be good for the locals.” 

Announcing the endorsement, Faiza described Ronnie as the “GOAT [Greatest of All Time]” of snooker”. She said: “I can’t believe it. I’ve been a huge fan of [Ronnie] since my teen years and I can’t express how much it means to have this local legend supporting my bid.

It’s not the first time she has received a celebrity endorsement; in 2019, when Faiza ran against Iain Duncan Smith for the first time, the actor Hugh Grant pushed people to vote for her. 

Ronnie’s backing comes as Faiza said at a rally in Chingford on Saturday that Labour is “splitting” the anti-Tory vote.

She said: “We’ve got less than three weeks to cause a big political upset. I am in this to win it. I don’t think anyone has put in more effort to get IDS out than me, adding: “It’s Labour that’s splitting the [anti-Tory] vote, not me.”

Faiza was deselected days after the general election was called after local Jewish party members reportedly complained to Labour that she had liked tweets that “downplayed antisemitism”.

She apologised for not realising the context of a tweet that mentioned the ‘Israel lobby’ in an appearance on Newsnight, while several other tweets that she was disciplined for liking included ones that raised her own experience of Islamophobia in the party.

Faiza’s Labour replacement Shama Tatler has been actively campaigning in Chingford and Woodford Green, and was joined by shadow health secretary and Ilford North MP Wes Streeting on the trail yesterday (16th June).

In a recent interview with OnLondon, the candidate described the electoral situation in Chingford and Woodford Green as being a “two-horse race” between her and Iain Ducan Smith, and added there had been a “good” reaction on the doorstep to Labour thus far.

The general election is on 4th July. 

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that Ronnie lives in Chigwell, it has been corrected to Woodford.

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