UK: British-Palestinian candidate set to challenge Labour's Wes Streeting
A group of independent activists have selected a British-Palestinian woman to challenge Labour Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting for his seat in east London in this year's expected general election.
Leanne Mohamad was selected by members of the independent Redbridge Community Action Group to challenge Streeting, who has faced criticism from pro-Palestinian activists over his comments on Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip.
"We have voted a Palestinian woman to take on Wes Streeting and Labour at the next election in Ilford North. A fitting choice to stand against the genocide supporters," said one member of the group, Muhammad Rehan Saeed, according to left-wing outlet Skwawkbox.
Streeting, a stalwart of the Labour Party's right-wing, has seen demonstrations outside his constituency office over his stance on Gaza, including his repeated opposition to a ceasefire and his insistence on Israel's right to self-defence.
Mohamad's challenge to Streeting comes as Labour leader Keir Starmer officially dropped the party's promise to recognise Palestine as a state unilaterally, and will now only do so as a result of a two-state solution with Israel.
Mohamad had long been campaigner on the issue of Palestine in the UK.
When she was 15, Mohamad won the regional final of the prestigious Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge for a speech about the suffering of Palestinians. In her speech, Mohamad told an audience of 1,200 that the “time had come to stop the suffering of innocent children” in Palestine.
Speakers Trust, the London-based body behind the competition, then removed the video of her entry from its website, prompting outcry and allegations of self-censorship.
Mohamad, now 23, has spoken at a number of pro-Palestinian events since the Israeli attack on Gaza began on 7 October in the wake of the Hamas-led attack on Israel.
In October she addressed a rally in central London and said: “Every supporter of Israel has blood on their hands, every western politician who greenlighted these war crimes has the blood of over 3,000 Palestinian children on their hands.”
According to 2021 census, the London Borough of Redbridge (which contains Ilford North) has a Muslim population of 31.3 per cent, and a number of polls have indicated Labour's support among the community has dropped as a result of its stance on Gaza.