Rokhsana Fiaz reselected by NEC as Labour candidate for Newham mayor

Sienna Rodgers

Rokhsana Fiaz has been reselected as the Labour candidate for Newham mayor ahead of the May elections, in a decision taken by the party’s national ruling body as West Ham and East Ham local parties remain suspended.

A panel of Labour national executive committee (NEC) members interviewed Fiaz as well as London Assembly member Unmesh Desai, who is critical of her as the incumbent. Fiaz was notified that she was successful last week.

Fiaz tweeted: “Growing up in Newham has shaped me in so many ways and it’s been the honour of my life to serve the people of our borough for the past four years, and I’m delighted that the @UKLabour has selected me to be their candidate for the Mayor of Newham at the May elections.”

The result was only made public by the regional party and Fiaz on Tuesday evening. LabourList understands that Desai had been trying to challenge the outcome of the NEC selection process, but these efforts were unsuccessful.

Update: Local councillor Pat Murphy, who represents the Royal Docks ward, has resigned from Labour in protest, saying the party has “ignored” or “condoned” criticisms of Fiaz.

The NEC unanimously agreed to suspend the two parties in the area – East Ham and West Ham – last year. The party said it had received “a significant number of serious allegations” that were backed up by a “considerable amount of evidence”.

The parties were told that the “wide-ranging” allegations related to the “conduct” of local members and to “membership recruitment practices” in Newham, with “irregularities in new member sign-ups over a sustained period” found.

While East Ham and West Ham Labour are suspended, no local meetings can be held and party systems are inaccessible to them. Selections are handled by Labour’s NEC with no vote among local members to choose candidates.

The chairs of both local parties, Tahir Mirza in East Ham and Carel Buxton in West Ham, resigned from their posts and from the Labour Party last month. Both criticised Keir Starmer’s leadership and the suspension of the local parties.

Fiaz was first elected as Newham mayor in May 2018, after the first directly-elected Newham mayor Robin Wales was not automatically reselected as the Labour candidate and Momentum-backed Fiaz won the selection race.

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