By Charlie Kimber
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2912

Pro-Palestine independents claim victory

Five pro-Palestine independents won seats at the general election showing that Palestine is on the agenda
Issue 2912
Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected as MP for Islington North (Photo: Guy Smallman)

Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected as the independent MP for Islington North (Photo: Guy Smallman)

Five pro-Palestine independents won seats at the general election. It’s a sign of the potential to keep up the fight against Israeli genocide in Gaza, combat the racism of Reform UK and confront Labour.

Independent candidate Andrew Feinstein came second with 7,312 votes—19 percent of the vote in Keir Starmer’s Holborn and St Pancras constituency. Starmer’s vote was down by half, from 36,641 in the 2019 election to 18,888.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting only just held his Ilford North seat, beating independent pro-Palestine candidate Leanne Mohamad by just over 500 votes.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, running as an independent, heavily defeated Labour in Islington North. Corbyn won 24,120 votes—almost 50 percent—to Labour’s 16,873. Corbyn’s vote was higher than Starmer’s.

Speaking after the result was declared, Corbyn said people “want something different”. He said they are looking for an end to the two-child benefit cap and for regulation of the private rented sector.

People want a government that “will search for peace not war, and not allow the terrible conditions to go on that are happening in Gaza”.

In a message to Starmer, Corbyn said, “I’ve just been re-elected for Islington North. I hope you’re very happy about that because you’re my parliamentary neighbour. I hope you’ll also remember you didn’t want me to be a candidate.”

In one of the most extraordinary results of the night, independent pro-Gaza candidate Shockat Adam defeated Labour shadow cabinet member Jon Ashworth in Leicester South.

Adam won 14,739 votes to Ashworth’s 13,760 votes. Adam said, “Our resistance can manifest in various guises. In addition to protesting, we can exercise our freedom of speech by engaging in intellectual and moral debates, economic sanctions, and, ultimately, the ballot box.

“We must ensure that those who turned their back on one of the greatest injustices in modern times are told loud and clear we have turned our backs on them.”

Adam was supported by Azeem Rafiq, the whistle-blower against racism in Yorkshire cricket.

Independent Adnan Hussain won in Blackburn. A spokesperson for his campaign told Socialist Worker, “We won because we were closer to the people than Labour. We won because we did not forget the children of Gaza or the need for justice for the Palestinian people.

“Now we will work hard for the whole community and try to be real representatives of the community. We do not expect the Labour government to play that role, and we will be ready to mobilise opposition where it is necessary.”

Independent Iqbal Mohamad smashed Labour in Dewsbury and Batley. He won 15,641 to Labour’s 8,707. “People are suffering and have had enough of the damaging mainstream parties, their toxic politics and policies and their support for genocide,” he said.

After 125 days as an MP, George Galloway lost in Rochdale. The Workers Party—pro-Palestine but reactionary on oppression—generally did worse than independent candidates.

Independents also hit Birmingham across much of Birmingham. Labour’s Jess Phillips survived by only 700 votes.

Independent Ayoub Khan won in Perry Barr. He defeated former Labour MP Khalid Mahmood who supported the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq under Blair.

Mahmood also pushed the now-debunked Trojan Horse conspiracy that there was a plot by Muslims to take over Birmingham schools.

There were excellent results for other independents who did not win, such as Muhammad Ali Islam, Azhar Iqbal Chohan and Michael Lavalette. And Socialist Worker supporter Maxine Bowler won 8 percent—2,537 votes—coming fourth in her Sheffield constituency.

“It was brilliant to see the independents advance,” Maxine told Socialist Worker.

“Although the main parties tried to keep Palestine off the ballot paper we forced it on. And the vote was also about more than Gaza. It was about poverty, stagnant or falling wages, bad housing and all the other issues working class people face.

“There are big challenges ahead but the vote is a boost to the fightback.”

Elections matter, but crucially the fight for Palestine and against austerity will take place in the streets and workplaces.

Some independent candidate’s results:

  • Adnan Hussain, Blackburn, 10,518 votes, 27 percent, elected
  • Aftab Nawaz, Walsall and Bloxwich 7,600 votes, 20.4 percent, second
  • Andrew Feinstein, Holborn and St Pancras 7,312 votes, 18.9 percent, second
  • Ayoub Khan, Birmingham Perry Bar, 13,303 votes, 35.5 percent, elected
  • Azhar Iqbal Chohan, Slough, 11,019 votes, 25.37 percent, second
  • Claudia Webbe, Leicester East, 5,532 votes, 11.8 percent, fourth
  • Dave Nellist, Coventry East, 797 votes, 2.2 percent, seventh
  • Emma Dent Coad, Kensington and Bayswater, 1,824 votes, 4.4 percent, sixth
  • Faiza Shaheen, Chingford and Woodford Green, 12,445 votes, 25.7 percent, third
  • Iqbal Mohamed, Dewsbury and Batley, 15,641 votes, 41 percent, elected
  • Jabu Nala-Hartley, Oxford East, 600 votes, 1.5 percent, eight
  • Jeremy Corbyn, Islington North, 24,120 votes, 49.2 percent, elected
  • Kamel Hawwash, Birmingham Selly Oak, 2,842 votes, 7.4 percent, fifth
  • Leanne Mohamad, Ilford North, 15,119 votes, 32.2 percent, second
  • Maxine Bowler, Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, 2,537 votes, 8 percent, fourth
  • Michael Lavalette, Preston, 8,715 votes, 22 percent, second
  • Muhammed Ali Islam, Bradford West, 11,017 votes, 29.7 percent, second
  • Nandita Lal, Tottenham, 2,348 votes, 5.8 percent, third
  • Perveen Hussain, Halifax, 1,367 votes, 3.4 percent, seventh
  • Sam Gorst, Liverpool Garston, 3,294 votes, 7.8 percent, third
  • Shockat Adam, Leicester South, 14,739 votes, 35.2 percent, elected
  • Tanushka Marah, Hove and Portslade, 3,048 votes, 5.9 percent, fifth
  • Tony Wilson, Oldham West, Chadderton and Royton, 573 votes, 1.5 percent, eighth

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