Faiza Shaheen ‘not endorsed to be Labour candidate after questions over X posts’

Former Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen has not been endorsed by the party for the Chingford and Woodford Green seat in north east London, the PA news agency understands.

Reports suggested Ms Shaheen would be suspended by Labour after she allegedly liked a series of posts on X that downplayed antisemitism accusations.

Ms Shaheen, who narrowly lost to Sir Iain Duncan Smith in the same seat at the 2019 election, told BBC Newsnight she “thought” she was going to be the candidate for the constituency, but got an email on Wednesday evening that she said claimed she would “frustrate Labour’s purpose”.

The programme heard she was called to a meeting with a panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee on Tuesday in which they highlighted posts which raised questions about her suitability as a candidate.

One post said: “Every time you say something even mildly critical of Israel, you’re immediately assailed by scores of hysterical people who explain to you why you’re completely wrong, how you’re 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.”

Ms Shaheen, who is on the left of the Labour Party, told Newsnight she does not remember liking the post in question.

“I know what’s wrong with it, of course, the line that’s there about ‘they’re in professional organisations’, it plays into a trope and I absolutely don’t agree with that and I’m sorry about that.

“And I expressed that I was sorry in that meeting yesterday over my crying baby but that’s one tweet.

“I’ve organised an interfaith vigil with a local Rabbi after the attacks, Hamas’s attack.”

She told the programme: “I feel foolish.

“Because everyone said I was the one socialist that was running, you know, it was a surprise that I wasn’t blocked earlier, everyone knows that. And of course they were going to come for me and I did something stupid and honestly I don’t remember liking that (tweet).”

Ms Shaheen also said she was in a “state of shock” and offered an emotional apology to her supporters.

“There’s so many people that have helped me,” she said.

“My phone is blowing up with local people trying to organise a rally and I just want to thank my old school teachers and the kids that came out tonight and I’m so sorry. I’m genuinely so sorry that it’s come to this.

“I know you really wanted me to be your MP and I really wanted that too.”

Asked what she wants to say to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Ms Shaheen referenced Diane Abbott, whose position in terms of whether she can stand as a Labour candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington has yet to be clarified by the party.

Ms Shaheen said: “On top of Gaza, on top of Diane Abbott and now this to me, when there’s such clear double standards of how other people have been treated when stuff has happened… what message are you sending my community? What message are you sending the black community?”