Action group calls for independent candidate to stand in Ilford South at general election

A new Redbridge community action group is appealing for candidates to stand as an independent candidate in the next election in Ilford South.

Redbridge Matters says it is looking for a candidate who “truly understands and represents” the community that it will support at the next general election.

Its website cites “profound disillusionment” with local elected representatives and deep disappointment with Labour’s response to calls for an immediate ceasefire when the Israel-Gaza conflict began.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) lead member and former Labour councillor Khaled Noor, said: “We’re just a group to make a platform for local residents to come forward and work together with issues they are concerned about.

“Things like anti-social behaviour, making Redbridge a more tolerant society and working with different communities.

“We’re also concerned about the lack of democracy in the Labour administration. We want to see that residents are not really happy about… Gaza.”

Redbridge Council’s Labour leader Jas Athwal has been contacted for comment.

Redbridge Matters is the second grassroots political organisation to emerge in Redbridge following protests about Labour leader Keir Starmer’s response to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Redbridge Community Action Group has already held a “hustings” event, at which it selected Leanne Mohamad to challenge Wes Streeting MP’s seat in Ilford North.

According to Redbridge Matter’s website, applications should be submitted by this Sunday, February 18.

When asked who runs Redbridge Matters and how it is organised, Mr Noor would only say that it includes “a number of local groups”.

However, he said the group includes Noorahan Begum and is supported by Shanelle Johnson, a councillor who recently resigned from Labour.

He added that the group includes “all sections of the community”

When asked what Redbridge Matters’ connection to the independent candidate would be if they won the election, Khaled said the organisation is still “in the process” of deciding how it is organised.

In 2021, while he was a Redbridge councillor, Mr Noor had the whip removed by the Labour group.

Redbridge Labour said he was being punished after “a number of separate incidents where his behaviour has fallen below the high standard we expect of our members”.

The group did not elaborate.

Mr Noor vehemently denied all allegations against him, claiming he was victimised for raising the issue of Islamophobia.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter