Labour’s Zarah Sultana launches re-election bid for Coventry with Tory taunt

Zarah Sultana alongside Richard Parker, Labour’s newly elected Mayor for the West Midlands
-Credit: (Image: Labour)

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Coventry South Zarah Sultana has launched her re-election campaign to retain the seat as she taunted the Tories as a party running out of time. She said it was time to 'finally boot out' the Conservatives - and said representing Coventry was 'the honour of my life'.

Around 150 people attended the event, which saw a speech from Labour ’s newly elected Mayor for the West Midlands Richard Parker. He defeated Andy Street narrowly in a crunch election that capped a miserable local election campaign for Rishi Sunak.

His speech was followed by words from former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell as well Ali Milani from the Labour Muslim Network, and trade unionists from the Communication Workers Union, Unison and Unite. After the event, campaigners hit the doors and spoke to voters in Lower Stoke - a ward that became part of the Coventry South constituency in the latest boundary changes.

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Sultana took over the seat from long-standing Labour incumbent Jim Cunningham in the 2019 election. She came out the winner in an extremely tight race, scraping by on a 401 vote majority over Conservative candidate Mattie Heaven, who she will face again in the General Election on July 4.

Sultana was re-selected unanimously as the Labour candidate in October 2022, winning support of every party branch and participating affiliated organisation, her officials say. Sultana has repeatedly described the seat as “hyper-marginal”, but after the launch, she said that “after 14 years of disastrous Conservative governments, this is our chance to finally boot them out.

“They’ve slashed funding for public services, run our schools and hospitals into the ground, and overseen an unprecedented fall in living standards. People in Coventry South are crying out for change and I am proud to be standing on my record.”

Sultana hailed her own record, saying she had dealt with more than 28,000 inquiries and issues for local residents, raised £13,000 for Coventry Foodbank, proposed a law to ensure no child goes hungry in school, as well as leading the campaign to tackle climate change. “It’s the honour of my life representing the people of this city and I will be fighting hard to secure their support once again,” she said.

Sultana is a vocal member of the left of the Labour Party and has chaired the Socialist Campaign Group parliamentary caucus. She has been outspoken in her criticism of the war in Gaza and has spoken openly about the Islamophobia and threats she has faced in public life.

Several other candidates are standing in the constituency, according to the website Who Can I Vote For. Mattie Heaven will represent the Tories.

Final confirmation on the full list of candidates is expected when the official candidate list is published on June 7.

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