Chingford News

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan praises Faiza Shaheen at Woodford rally

The snooker champion and Woodford local said the independent candidate had ‘restored’ his faith in politics at a rally attended by over 200 people, reports Marco Marcelline

Faiza and Ronnie pose with the crowd, Credit: Rehan Jamil

The snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan appeared at a rally to support the independent candidate Faiza Shaheen on Sunday (23rd June) where he praised her “passion” for Chingford and Woodford Green.

Speaking before O’Sullivan at the Woodford Rugby Club rally, which was attended by over 200 people, Faiza began by referencing the nature of her deselection last month, saying: “We’re not going to put up with injustice. We know that when we see someone do the work for years and then get pushed out at the last minute; we’re not going to accept that.”

Referencing Labour leader Keir Starmer’s comment to BBC News following her deselection that he wants the “highest quality” candidates, she said: “We are good enough, high quality enough, to represent ourselves”. 

She continued: “We don’t need someone parachuted in from the other side of London. [Our constituency is] amazing, and we have the ability to change history and change politics. Everyone is going to know who we are on the 4th of July; we are going to be the most famous constituency in this country. David Beckham and Harry Kane will be like, ‘Oh yeah we’re from Chingford!’”

Drawing cheers and laughs from the crowd, she added: “We’re a special place, we’re the forest, we’re the city, we don’t say our t’s, and we’re this diverse and beautiful community. There’s something so special happening here.”

Introducing O’Sullivan, Shaheen said: “I loved snooker for a really long time, me and my sister would watch snooker on the TV. What can I say, he’s just the greatest.”

Credit: Adam Scott

Taking to the stage, O’ Sullivan began his speech by explaining why he had been motivated to support Shaheen: “The thing that I can recognise is passion. I’ve lived a life where I’ve seen the people at the top and they don’t really care. The people at the top are just interested in the money, the business; quite frankly they don’t care about the person on the street.”

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Describing Shaheen as “feisty” and “strong”, he said: “I lost a lot of faith in politics but I met Faiza and she…restored my faith.”

The snooker champion also took aim at Shama Tatler, the Labour candidate who is locally known as ‘Towerblock Tatler’ in Brent, where she is a councillor. He said: “Why would you install someone from out of the community? I heard she likes a tower block. If you’re someone who wants to keep the place green, healthy…vote for Faiza.”

He wrapped up his speech by pushing the congregation of supporters to back Faiza at the ballot box, saying: “If we can pull this off, this would be a major, major change for our country. If Faiza doesn’t get in, we’ve missed a trick.”

The other candidates standing in Chingford and Woodford Green are incumbent Iain Duncan Smith (Conservative), Shama Tatler (Labour), Josh Hadley (Liberal Democrats), Paul Luggeri (Reform Party), and Chris Brody (Independent, formerly Green Party).

Chris was suspended by the Green Party last week after a blog post in which he confessed to a sexual assault. He made the confession in a now deleted personal blog which details his struggles with bi-polar disorder.

The Echo understands that the left-wing party will conduct an investigation into the blog posts following the 4th July general election. 

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