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Pro-Palestinian activist to challenge Sir Keir Starmer at election

Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC MP in South Africa, addresses pro-Palestinian protesters at a rally in Whitehall in February
Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC MP in South Africa, addresses pro-Palestinian protesters at a rally in Whitehall in February - MARK KERRISON/IN PICTURES

A pro-Palestinian activist will stand against Sir Keir Starmer in his London constituency at the election as Left-wing campaigners attempt to unseat the Labour leader.

Andrew Feinstein was chosen by a pressure group set up in support of Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir’s predecessor as leader, to run as a candidate in Holborn and St Pancras.

Sir Keir is almost certain to hold the seat, which he won with a majority of more than 27,000 at the last election, but Mr Feinstein’s candidacy is the latest sign of the backlash against Labour’s stance on the war in Gaza.

Mr Feinstein sat as a parliamentarian with the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa between 1994 and 2001 and was first elected under Nelson Mandela.

He describes himself as a “proud Leftie Jew” and sits on the steering committee of Stop the War, which criticised Nato following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has called for an end to both the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas conflicts.

On Sunday, Ocisa (Organise Corbyn Inspired Socialist Alliance) confirmed that it would stand Mr Feinstein in the seat after he received the backing of more than 95 per cent of its supporters.

In a statement, Mr Feinstein said: “We can make this a campaign of national significance by also focusing on Starmer’s constant lies, his uncritical support for Israel and his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, the party’s racist hierarchy of racism and his support for the UK’s military adventurism and arms trade.

“We must do everything in our power to stop the Red Tory Starmer from winning.”

A crowdfunding page set up by Ocisa to support Mr Feinstein’s campaign had raised just over £19,000 as of Monday lunchtime.

In December, Sir Keir voiced support for a “sustainable ceasefire as quickly as possible”, but until then had declined to back calls for an end to hostilities, saying Israel had a “right and duty” to defend itself following the Oct 7 Hamas attacks.

Holborn and St Pancras, in the north London borough of Camden, had a Muslim population of 16 per cent as of the 2021 Census.

A crowdfunding page set up by Ocisa to support Mr Feinstein’s campaign had raised just over £19,000 as of Monday lunchtime.

The group was created last year in response to Sir Keir’s announcement that Mr Corbyn, who had the Labour whip withdrawn in 2020 for claiming that anti-Semitism during his leadership was “dramatically overstated”, would not stand as the party’s candidate in Islington North.

Last month, Leanne Mohamad, another pro-Palestine activist, was selected to challenge Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, in Ilford North, where data suggest that almost one-third of the population is Muslim.

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.