Labour Party: The battle of the east London centrists

Here too, the MP, Apsana Begum has been “triggered” by local members, so she has go through a selection contest to stand as MP in the next election. Many people seem to have lost faith in her. Given Labour’s near 29,000 majority here, this seat could be highly sought-after by political hopefuls. Ms Begum has also complained to the party. In June she was signed off sick after what she described as a “sustained campaign of misogynistic abuse.” She called on the party to investigate “alleged” abuses. Last week she was said to have returned to work. In a recent interview, she said she was being targeted by her party “because I am a socialist, because of my politics, because I’m a Muslim woman of Bangladeshi origin, and I’m working class”. She added: “They don’t want us to represent people that are like us in Parliament.” Her supporters include Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney and Stoke Newington. Last year Ms Begum, described as being on the left of the party, was cleared by a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court of making fraudulent housing claims accusations which she said had been “driven by malicious intent”. The local Labour party has a strong Bangladeshi membership and Labour might expect a strong challenge at the election from a candidate from Aspire, the party of Lutfur Rahman who became mayor of Tower Hamlets in May.

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