UK's Labour Party loses 5 seats to pro-Palestinian independent candidates

UK's Labour Party loses 5 seats to pro-Palestinian independent candidates

‘This is for Gaza’, said Shockat Adam, after managing to get into parliament by winning just under 1,000 vote difference

By Mehmet Solmaz

LONDON (AA) — Britain’s Labour Party, which ended 14 years of Conservative rule with a landslide victory, lost five parliamentary seats to candidates who made the conflict in Gaza a central to their campaign.

In Birmingham Perry Barr, Labour's Khalid Mahmood lost to independent Ayoub Khan by only 507 votes.

In an interview with Anadolu a few days before the election, Khan told Anadolu that the Liberal Democrats wanted to prevent him from speaking about Gaza.

“So ultimately, I made the decision to stand as an independent by resigning from the party.”

Birmingham, a city with a population of 1.2 million, is home to more than 300,000 Muslims, many of whom have been vocal against Israel’s offensive on Gaza, which has killed nearly 38,000 Palestinians and wounded more than 87,000, a majority of them women and children.

In Leicester South, Shockat Adam declared "this is for Gaza" as he won the seat by 979 votes.

The constituency, where around 30% of the electorate are Muslim, has been held by Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth for 13 years.

In Dewsbury and Batley, independent candidate Iqbal Mohamed, whose key focus areas include a cease-fire and peace agreement in Gaza, beat Labour candidate Heather Iqbal.

After decades of strong support, the Labour Party has seen a sharp decrease in support from Muslims, owing primarily to party leader Keir Starmer’s pro-Israel stance.

In Blackburn, Labour’s Kate Hollern lost to Adnan Hussain, who said in his online statement to voters: “I promise to make your concerns against the injustice being inflicted against the people of Gaza be heard in the places where our so-called representatives failed.”

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ran as an independent and successfully retained his long-held seat in London’s Islington North. He beat his Labour rival by more than 7,000 votes.

He has long been a pro-Palestine voice, and his platform included a call to end the occupation of Palestinian territories.

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