Labour politicians lash out at party over Vaz replacement
“If there is any attempt to remove it, I will be there to defend it personally,” said Keith Vaz
(OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
THE Labour Party’s selection of Claudia Webbe as a replacement for Keith Vaz as its candidate in Leicester East has enraged a few supporters.
Navin Shah, a London Assembly member from Brent, has accused Labour of being not transparent enough in its selection process.
“UK Labour has perfected stitch up and lack of transparency to a fine art. Enough is enough,” he tweeted on Wednesday (13).
Shah was vying to become the Labour candidate for Leicester East in the upcoming election.
Former Labour city councillor Sundip Meghani has also voiced his disapproval of Webbe, saying he could not stay silent on “the obvious dodgy practices and nepotism involved in this process.”
He also said Webbe’s selection was “a slap in the face for the Indian community in Leicester.”
He said: “Any other decent candidate would have been suitable – it didn’t necessarily have to be me – but by selecting such an inappropriate candidate for Leicester East Labour has chosen to rub salt in the wound it has created among British Indians.”
A Labour spokesperson, meanwhile, defended Webbe, saying she was an excellent candidate to represent Leicester East.
The spokesperson said: “Claudia Webbe is a BAME [Black, Asian and minority ethnic] woman who was born in and grew up in Leicester.
“Her knowledge of the constituency, her extensive experience as a councillor and as a campaigner for equality for all ethnic minority groups make her an excellent candidate.
“The panel that chose her as a candidate included regional and local constituency representatives.”
Former Leicester East Labour MP Vaz on Sunday announced his decision to stand down from the seat after 32 years in Parliament.
His departure comes following calls to suspend him from the party after revelations that he offered to buy cocaine for two male sex workers.
In a statement, Vaz said: “I have decided to retire after completing 32 years as the Member of Parliament for Leicester East.
“In that time I have won eight general elections. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve my constituency since I came to the city in 1985.
“I want to thank the people of Leicester East for their absolute loyalty and support.”