Sam Tarry: Former Shadow Minister Ousted In Deselection Vote 

Former shadow minister Sam Tarry has lost a battle to keep hold of his London seat in the first deselection of a Labour MP for more than a decade. 

The vote by party members means Mr Tarry, an ex-trade union official, will not stand as Ilford South’s Labour candidate at the next general election. 

He was beaten by Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal, by 499 votes to 361. 

Mr Tarry had previously beaten Mr Athwal to contest the seat in controversial circumstances in 2019.

Just before the 2019 selection, Mr Athwal, who had been the favourite to win, was suspended over “extremely serious allegations”, which ruled him out of the race. 

He had always denied the allegations and was later cleared. Mr Athwal claimed the complaint was “malicious” and politically motivated.

The move sparked accusations of a “stitch-up” to allow Mr Tarry, a supporter of then-party leader Jeremy Corbyn, to become the candidate.

Mr Tarry has represented Ilford South since the December 2019 election. He replaced Mike Gapes, who had held the seat since 1992 but resigned from Labour alongside six other MPs that February.

Speaking after the results of Monday night’s vote were announced, Mr Athwal said it was a “real honour” to be selected.

“Ilford is my home, it is where I live, went to school and where my children all went to school. It is the only place I would ever want to represent,” he said. 

“Today means Ilford can focus on the future and ensure that Westminister delivers for Ilford, that Ilford gets the investment it needs and deserves.”

Mr Tarry, who had been backed by the left-wing Momentum campaign group, said he was “incredibly disappointed”.

He added that he intended to issue a further statement on Tuesday “on the process and outcome”. 

Mr Athwal had the support of shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, who represents the neighbouring Ilford North seat. 

Welcoming the result, Mr Streeting said: “Jas will be a superb representative for Ilford South. His is an Ilford story – the boy who came from the Punjab and built an education, successful businesses, and a wonderful family here. 

“He’s led Redbridge Labour to three unprecedented victories because he’s a local resident who fights as hard for our community as he would for his own family.”

Mr Tarry was sacked as shadow transport secretary by Sir Keir Starmer in July, after joining striking rail workers on a picket line. 

The Labour leader said he lost his role for doing unauthorised interviews and “making up policy on the hoof”. 

The vote by party members was triggered after every local branch in Mr Tarry’s constituency voted for him to go through a re-selection process. 

The east London constituency is a safe Labour seat, with a majority of 24,101.

Source: BBC NEWS

Frebetha Atieku Adjoh

News Editor, Lover of Arts & Entertainment

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