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UK election 2024: Pro-Palestine candidate wins with thumping majority in Dewsbury & Batley

Iqbal Mohamed received more than 40 percent of the votes, with Labour's Heather Iqbal coming a distant second with 22.9 percent of the total vote share
Iqbal Mohamed and campaigners (Iqbal Mohamed on X)
Iqbal Mohamed with his campaigners (Iqbal Mohamed on X)

Pro-Palestine candidate Iqbal Hussain Mohamed was elected to parliament with an overwhelming majority on Friday, after gathering nearly twice as many votes against Labour's Heather Iqbal in the West Yorkshire constituency of Dewsbury & Batley.

Mohamed secured 15,641 votes in the UK general election, winning with 41.1 percent of the total vote share, whilst Labour's Iqbal received 8,707 votes, or 22.9 percent of the vote share.

Johnathan Thackray from the Reform party came third with 6,152 votes whilst the Tory candidate, Lalit Suryawanshi, came fourth, with 4,182 votes. 

Mohamed, who was born and raised in Dewsbury, is an engineer and IT consultant whose parents arrived from India in the 1960s.

Formerly a Labour member, he quit over party leader Keir Starmer's early support for Israel's war on Gaza after the 7 October Hames-led attacks on southern Israel. 

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"I have been involved in charity and community work in the UK and abroad since the late 90's and I've been a political activist for the past several years," Mohamed said in a statement shortly before polls opened on Thursday. 

Standing on a pro-Palestine platform and in defense of local issues such as the cost of living crisis and the failing NHS, he said: "I believe that politics has been hijacked by the corrupt, selfish, pro-war, racist elite and is being used against us. 

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"Both main parties have given their full support to the genocide in Palestine and continue to sell arms that are used to kill innocent civilians in breach of international law."

In cities and towns across the UK, Muslim voters and activists on the left vowed to vote against Labour over its delay in demanding a ceasefire to Israel's devastating assault.

Although Labour remains in opposition and has no say over UK foreign policy, many were outraged by the party's response to the war, and what they frequently describe as Israeli genocide.

Israel's war on Gaza, now nearing its tenth month, has destroyed large swaths of the besieged territory and forced nearly the entire population to flee their homes at least once.

More than 38,000 people have been killed, the great majority of them women and children. Thousands more are missing or presumed to be dead under the rubble.

Communicable diseases are rapidly spreading, and infant mortality has skyrocketed.

Labour performs badly in Muslim areas

Although it was a spectacular night for Labour, with the party winning a landslide victory with at least 411 seats in the House of Commons, it performed badly in areas with a high proportion of Muslim voters in a sign of anger towards Keir Starmer over Labour's position on Israel's war in Gaza.

Whilst it has yet to be established exactly how the Muslim community voted, Dewsbury & Batley has a large Muslim population comprising around 32,000 people, close to 40 percent of total eligible voters.

In one of the biggest shocks of the night, pro-Palestine candidate Shockat Adam unseated Labour's Shadow Cabinet minister Jon Ashworth in the East Midlands constituency of Leicester South by a slim margin of 979 votes.

In the northwestern ex-industrial town of Blackburn, independent candidate Adnan Hussain narrowly defeated Labour's Kate Hollern by just 132 votes after the vote was split with another candidate, Craig Murray, who also stood on a pro-Gaza platform for George Galloway's Workers Party.

In Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn was reelected to the seat he has held since 1983 – but this time as an independent, rather than for Labour. He won with 49.2 percent of the vote, while the Labour candidate came in second with 34.4 percent.

In his victory speech, Corbyn said the voters of Islington North were "looking for a government that on the world stage will search for peace, not war, and not allow the terrible conditions to go on that are happening in Gaza at the present time."

And in Birmingham Perry Barr, independent Ayoub Khan defeated Labour incumbent Khalid Mahmood, who had held the seat since 2001, by 507 votes.

Meanwhile, in Holborn and St Pancras, Starmer held his London seat but with a significantly decreased majority - down 17 percent from the last election - whilst in Ilford North, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting saw his majority fall from more than 9,000 in 2019 to just 528 against 23-year-old Leanne Mohamad.

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