Friday, March 24, 2017
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Bradford – As the dust settles after one of the most fierce election battles witnessed in Bradford West, Bradford born Naz Shah is today the newly elected Member of Parliament for Bradford West.

IMG_0175Defeating maverick politician George Galloway of the Respect Party by a colossal majority of 11,000 votes, Naz Shah’s victory was celebrated by the masses who followed the election campaign intensely ever since she was selected by the Labour Party hierarchy to battle Galloway a few months ago.

Galloway’s dramatic downfall from winning only three years ago with a majority just as impressive as Shah’s, when he defeated Imran Hussain, is indeed a huge setback for his avid supporters who are still licking their wounds after the embarrassment of Friday morning. But where did it go so wrong for Galloway?

IMG_0194Many claim, who were once Galloway supporters, the personal attacks on Shah by Galloway and his activists worked against him. Creating countless fake Twitter profiles of Shah to discredit her and her family attracted criticism from national and international commentators who joined the social media campaign backing Shah. The campaign took a nastier turn when a website was set up by the Respect Party supporters dedicated to Naz Shah’s life targeting her mother and immediate family. If that wasn’t bad enough, a letter was posted through resident’s letter boxes a week before the elections, again discrediting Shah and her family.

Shah’s own chapter started when she penned the letter about her life in Urban Echo. Titled ‘Exclusive to Urban Echo: Naz Shah reveals all’, little did we know at Urban Echo that the article would go rival. The article was read over 70,000 times and shared via social media platforms over 15,000 times. Prior to the IMG_0219letter, Shah was a regular columnist for our paper and was Urban Echo’s ‘star columnist.’ Her own political journey started at the same time when Urban Echo was set up last year in September to promote positivity and integration within the region. Promoting positivity and integration was one of Shah’s many passions and she agreed to write her views and opinions via Urban Echo. Little did we know, including Shah, what the next few months would hold as allegations, libel threats, defamation allegations and police reports would become the ingredients of the ‘Battle for Bradford West’.

Now that Galloway is no longer in Bradford, it is more likely that the Respect Party and its last few councillors will gradually disintegrate. The people of Bradford have decisively and unanimously rejected Galloway and his party. In saying that, the people of Bradford West have also chosen Shah to represent them in Parliament as 19,000 residents came out to the polling stations to put an X next to her name. image1Shah’s victory is also a victory for women, especially Muslim women. Shah has proven that regardless of race, religion, gender and background, if you have a dream and you want to chase that dream, nothing can stop you. Shah’s victory is a victory for the voiceless, a victory for the abused and a victory for the oppressed.

Galloway’s speech at the count was carefully thought out. He indicated that he will be launching another campaign imminently [one can assume it may be for the London Mayor contest] and he referred to ‘lions’ and ‘hyenas’.

It has been an eventful three years in Bradford. The Galloway chapter is finished and the ‘lioness’ has roared her way into the history books and created her own political earthquake in Bradford West.

 

Bradford – George Galloway, the Respect candidate in Bradford West, has called on the Director of Public Prosecutions to charge his Labour opponent Naz Shah with perjury over evidence she gave in the trial of her mother for murder and the subsequent appeal.
George Galloway
George Galloway

He has also referred her to the DPP over claims she made under Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act which concerns false representation.

“A jury in the original trial where her mother was convicted on four counts – fraud, soliciting murder, attempted murder and murder – not only unanimously decided her mother was guilty but concluded Naz Shah’s evidence was a tissue of lies, as did the appeal court,” Galloway said. “In particular she lied by claiming that she had bought samosas, which her mother had poisoned, in a shop. In fact her mother, as she subsequently agreed, made them and included a dose of arsenic she had brought back from Pakistan. Shah’s mother even stood by and watched her eat one before making her sick afterwards,’ he continued.

Naz Shah
Naz Shah

“The Court of Appeal, in peremptorily dismissing her mother’s appeal, concurred. I am demanding that she is now prosecuted for perjury. Her testimony, and everything she has said since about the case, is a travesty of the truth. You can either believe the judgments or the fairy tale Ms Shah has since presented.”

Galloway continued: “I deeply regret that Labour has continued to drag this sordid tale and this disreputable candidate and her story across Bradford West voters. There is much more but I have no wish to delve further into the sewer.”

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Bradford – As the election fever gathers momentum at a time when prospective candidates aspire to dethrone their sitting parliamentary opponents, the Bradford West constituency is slowly simmering to boiling point as a toe to toe confrontation between maverick MP George Galloway and his [new] Labour opponent Naz Shah gathers pace.

Naz (also known as Naseem) Shah’s selection was met with raised eyebrows by the Bradford public as well as the Labour Party controlling the city as many whispered of foul play after the suspicious and sudden withdrawal of the selected candidate Amina Ali. Unconvinced by her reasons for the resignation, as many indicated that political pressure from the hierarchy influenced Ali’s decision, the Labour party had no choice but to conduct a second round of interviews. Naz Shah who only managed to receive 13 votes in the first round of the selection process, compared to Naveeda Ikram’s 78, was surprisingly given the nod by the selectors in London ahead of former Lord Mayor and seasoned politician, Ikram.

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Naz Shah’s marriage certificate in Urdu dated 1990

Urban Echo broke the story ‘Exclusive to Urban Echo: Naz Shah reveals all’ last month and in the process propelled Naz Shah onto the national platform as media heavyweights in the way of BBC, Ch4, Guardian, Times, Independent and online influencers Buzzfeed featured the story resulting in an on line viral reaction. The article was read over 50,000 times within 24 hours and shared via Facebook and Twitter 15,000 times. Naz Shah was suddenly trending across the country. But why such a dramatic reaction?

Shah’s penned story of a victim, an abused childhood and of her mother Zoora Shah, who was convicted for murder, struck a chord with its readers as she re-lived her harrowing story. But this was Naz Shah’s version of the story. She made reference to her abused mother who ultimately murdered the man that had been abusing her for so many years. She also made reference to her forced marriage in Pakistan at the age of fifteen.

Many observers are now questioning whether her story gives her the right credentials to stand for Parliament. Social media posts are predominantly for Shah but she also has her critics questioning the accuracy of her version of events in the story.

Translated version of marriage certificate
Translated version of marriage certificate

As it appears, Urban Echo has come into the possession of Shah’s ‘Nikkah’ (marriage) certificate dated May 31, 1990. The ceremony took place in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir when she married Syed Mazhar Shah. As Naz Shah was born on November 13, 1973, her marriage took place when she was sixteen and half years old – not fifteen years old as she claimed in the article.

Ron McKay, the Respect Party spokesperson told Urban Echo, “Naz Shah has claimed in all the media she has trailed her story across – Times, Telegraph, Mirror, Mail and Guardian, and of course Urban Echo – that she was fifteen when she married. This narrative plays into the racist line of Pakistani men grooming/sexually abusing under-age girls.

“Recently when I pointed out to a Guardian reporter the true date of the marriage, based on Supreme Court evidence that her mother had gone to Pakistan in May 1990 for the wedding, Naz Shah’s response was to add a further lie, that her mother’s visit was for the wedding celebration – some 18 months at least after the alleged wedding! Naseem Shah has deliberately and cynically bent the truth in order to manipulate people’s emotions in an attempt to win personal support for her candidature. She is unfit to represent Labour or, heaven forfend, the people of Bradford West,” he concludes.

The Labour party were unavailable for comment.

 

Bradford – The well-known and immensely respected senior Bradford Labour figure Adrian Longthorn has defected to George Galloway’s Respect party. He will contest the May council elections for the party in the Clayton and Fairweather Green ward.

George Galloway
George Galloway

“I’m hugely impressed and encouraged that Adrian has come over to us. He’s a man who has been close to the centre of Labour politics in Bradford for several decades and he will bring a wealth of experience and nous to Respect. I’m looking forward to working with him immensely,” said George Galloway.

Adrian has held many senior positions in the Labour party in Bradford. He was three times elected as a councillor in the city – Thornton, Wyke and Clayton and Fairweather Green wards – and has served, among other roles, as election agent for the late MP Marsha Singh and for the present council deputy leader Imran Hussain.

Adrian Longthorn
Adrian Longthorn

“Obviously it was a huge wrench leaving Labour after more than 30 years,” Longthorn said. “But I’ve been feeling for a long time now that Labour has actually left me. It’s unrecognisable to the party I joined, and not in a good way. It no longer represents the aspirations and hopes of working people. And in this city the party’s hold on power has strangled initiative and grassroots organisation. The party locally is both corrupt, manipulated and misused by one or two people, as well as being numbingly incompetent. Respect represents all that old Labour was and George Galloway is a huge political figure with not just a massive local following but national and international clout. I am sure he is going to be re-elected and I am pleased to be joining his team and once more working for the real needs of the people of Bradford.”

On 21st of February 2015, just 75 days before the general elections, the Labour Party eventually managed to select the candidate for the Bradford West constituency to enter the contest.

Ms Amina Ali, a councillor from Tower Hamlets, London has won the toss for this seat beating two local aspirants with a huge majority. Cllr Naveeda Ikram, the first female Muslim Lord Mayor of the city was tipped to secure the nomination followed by a rather newcomer to politics, Ms Naseem Shah. But surprisingly, both were unanimously rejected by the 237 members present at the selection meeting by a big margin.

Amina Ali
Amina Ali

It is reported that after the result was announced, there were skirmishes between Naveeda Ikram’s supporters and those who were alleged to have supported Amina Ali by using the block vote in order to exclude the other two candidates from victory. Also insiders have revealed to Urban Echo that lobbying for Ali continued during the three hour meeting by way of whispers and deterring eye contacts. During the two weeks preceding the selection meeting, reliable sources have informed Urban Echo that several private meetings were held by a particular faction of the Labour Party in which the use of block vote in favour of Ali was decided. In addition, a Member of Parliament made a special journey from the Midlands to vouch support for another candidate. These disclosures can only be indicative of undue and unfair interventions and irregularities of the whole process of selection.

Naveeda Ikram
Naveeda Ikram

Once again these extraneous influences have occurred in the selection process which the party wanted to avoid at any cost. The Labour Party, as a result of their nearly three year investigation of factors which led to their defeat in 2012, took the decision to declare Bradford West as a woman only constituency with the hope of achieving some unity within the party and the community. It is manifest now, however, that they have dismally failed. The party is still divided into factions and last month they tried and succeeded to demonstrate their influence and power.

As we know, the seat in Bradford West became vacant after the demise of Marsh Singh. Subsequently, Mr Imran Hussain was chosen to contest it and lost to the Respect Party by a mammoth ten thousand majority. It was a humiliating defeat for Labour and the man responsible for this defeat was none other than George Galloway – the most tumultuous politician and a bogeyman of the media. Galloway within a few weeks of his presence in the city mesmerised the electorate by his unmatchable power of oratory and his unequivocal support for Palestine. This stupendous victory of Galloway was described as the GG phenomenon. Although, the support for the Respect Party after the resignations of its five councillors in 2013 has eroded, the party is

still breathing and alive and it would be suicidal for Labour to underestimate or ignore Galloway as a political entity in in the forthcoming contest. For the Labour candidate, the time for campaigning is too short as being an outsider and reliance on loyalty and sincerity of some Labour members is dubious. Rumours are already rife within the community that the rift in the local labour party and the ulterior motive of a faction is to ensure that Labour does not win because of the” shoddy” treatment meted out to them. And, of course, if Ms Ali wins, they believe their chances will be limited.

In these circumstances the Labour Party has no room to harbour any illusion or complacency and sit on their laurels, as usual, hoping everything will be all right. They should not simply depend on honeyed words of dubious sincerity and loyalty but scrutinise these claims and ensure by the evidence of hard work and visible actions. Ms Amina Ali and her party are undoubtedly faced with many minefields; hence they have to navigate with utmost caution and prudence to win back Bradford West.

Editor, Urban Echo

The UKIP MEP who jumped from Nigel Farage’s party to join the Conservative’s is revealed as a liar about his political past.

stream_imgAmjad Bashir denies that he has ever had anything to do with the Respect party but an application form he filled in and is still held by the party proves that isn’t the case. The new Conservative MEP gives his date of birth on the form as September 17, 1952. But he also claims on the form that in the 1970s and 1980s he was a Labour party member and helped the then Bradford West MP Marsha Singh (now deceased). He also claims to have been heavily involved, and led a membership drive in Bradford, for Imran Khan’s Pakistan party the PTI (Party of Justice).

For Labour Bashir claims: “I attended ward and regional meetings, I carried out door to door canvassing on election days…I also carried out telephone campaigns.”

GallowaynewRespect’s Bradford West MP George Galloway hit out: “Not only has this man not got a shred of principle, his acquaintance with the truth is distant to say the least. He joined Respect, now he’s lying about it. I don’t know if what he is saying about Labour and the PTI is correct but his denial that he joined Respect, was selected as a candidate and then de-selected, is a shameful and damning untruth. If the Tories are prepared to embrace this man then I think it says even more about them than it does him.”

Galloway would not reveal why the party had decided to drop Bashir. “But probably for the first time ever I have to agree with Nigel Farage that there are grave concerns about things in this guy’s past.”

He added that not only was the application form in the party’s hands but at least five witnesses, who were part of his interview panel, were prepared to confirm that he had joined the party and then been sacked as a council candidate for Bradford Moor.

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