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Monday, April 22, 2024

Redbridge Matters looking for parliamentary candidate who “truly understands and represents” the community

A new community action group is appealing for candidates to stand as an independent candidate in the next election in Ilford South.

Redbridge Matters says it is looking for a candidate who “truly understands and represents” the community that it will support at the next general election.

Its website cites “profound disillusionment” with local elected representatives and deep disappointment with Labour’s response to calls for an immediate ceasefire when the Israel-Gaza conflict began.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) lead member and former Labour councillor Khaled Noor, said: “We’re just a group to make a platform for local residents to come forward and work together with issues they are concerned about.

“Things like anti-social behaviour, making Redbridge a more tolerant society and working with different communities.

Residents are not happy about what has been happening in Gaza.

“We’re also concerned about the lack of democracy in the Labour administration and residents are not happy about what has been happening in Gaza.”

Jas Athwal Image: Redbridge Council

Redbridge Council’s Labour leader Jas Athwal has been contacted for comment.

Redbridge Matters is the second grassroots political organisation to emerge in Redbridge following protests about Labour leader Keir Starmer’s response to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Redbridge Community Action Group has already held a “hustings” event, at which it selected Leanne Mohamad to challenge Wes Streeting MP’s seat in Ilford North.

According to Redbridge Matter’s website, applications should be submitted by Sunday 18 February.

When asked who runs Redbridge Matters and how it is organised, Khaled would only say that it includes “a number of local groups”.

However, he said the group includes Noorahan Begum and is supported by Shanelle Johnson, a councillor who recently resigned from Labour.

He added that the group includes “all sections of the community”

When asked what Redbridge Matters’ connection to the independent candidate would be if they won the election, Khaled said the organisation is still “in the process” of deciding how it is organised.

In 2021, while he was a Redbridge councillor, Khaled had the whip removed by the Labour group.

Redbridge Labour said he was being punished after “a number of separate incidents where his behaviour has fallen below the high standard we expect of our members”.

The group did not elaborate on the nature of his alleged conduct.

Khaled vehemently denied all allegations against him, claiming he was victimised for raising the issue of Islamophobia.

Sharing further details of the selection process, Khaled said Redbridge Matters would run a “fair, transparent and open selection process”

He added: “Redbridge Matters appointed a selection panel amongst the residents of Redbridge and from different professional backgrounds and high levels of skills.

“The panel comprises three male and two female members, including myself (Khaled Noor), acting as chair of the panel and Cllr Shanell Johnson as a member.

“The chair may exercise his voting right only where there is a tied vote, and a casting vote is necessary to resolve it.

“After the interview of the shortlisted candidates, the top candidates will be put forward to the next stage.

“Then, a hustings will be convened for residents of Ilford South to attend at a suitable date and time as agreed by the panel.”

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