BAME rep frontrunner among further suspensions of NEC by-election candidates

Sienna Rodgers

The frontrunner in the race to be the next BAME rep on Labour’s ruling body has become the latest candidate to be ousted from the NEC by-elections amid a further spate of suspensions.

Mehmood Mirza – a West Ham member who received 75 local party nominations for the BAME post, more than any other candidate – has now been suspended from the party, which makes him ineligible to stand.

Mirza had been nominated by left-wing trade union TSSA, and backed by the Labour Left Alliance group – though not by Momentum, which has endorsed new MP and former NEC member Navendu Mishra, also nominated by Unite, CWU, BFAWU and FBU.

The disciplinary decision follows a report by the Telegraph that revealed Mirza had been the subject of a complaint, which related to a post on his Facebook page of a cartoon that depicted a “free Palestine” campaigner being silenced and accused of antisemitism.

Mirza has now been removed from the Labour Party’s official list of BAME rep candidates, as has Keith Hussein, who received the backing of 12 local parties during the nomination period in the NEC by-elections.

A total of five candidates – Jo Bird, Mohammed Azam, Graham Durham, Mehmood Mirza and Keith Hussein – have now been suspended during the course of the internal by-elections that started in January.

Bird has since been reinstated as a member, which means her 117 local party nominations are now valid, while the others remain under administrative suspension pending the resolution of complaints made against them.

It is understood that all of the candidate suspensions by the Labour Party are related to allegations of antisemitism, and mostly made on the basis of social media posts.

Ballots are set to go out from tomorrow – Monday, February 24th – which makes it unlikely that any of the other four candidates will be eligible to stand as candidates in the contests despite initially receiving enough nominations to qualify.

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