BY Alison Bellamy
Following the media spotlight being focused firmly on the anti-Semitism row which has rocked Labour, it is interesting to see if the fallout has affected the way the electorate has voted in the city of Bradford. Bradford West MP Naz Shah and former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, have both been suspended from the Labour Party over their personal views, which were branded ‘anti-Semitic’. Investigations are underway.
During the election count for Bradford, council officials effectively banned reporters or the use of electronic devices from the floor for a short time, at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre.
Labour Councillor Mohammed Shabbir, who was also recently suspended from the Labour Party over claims he also posted anti-semitic Facebook comments, retained his seat in Heaton, Bradford. He said: “This is testimony to all the hard work that has gone in from the very beginning of my campaign. There was the suspension, but my team was determined to carry on.”
The ruling Labour group has kept control and extended its majority, with a Labour gain for the city ward. The Liberal Democrats held the three seats in Bradford it was defending and added a fourth. The Conservatives lost two seats, but kept hold of five seats. UKIP retained a seat and the Greens have three, with Independents losing two to drop to six.
Ratna Lachman is director of Just West Yorkshire, an organisation which campaigns for racial justice, civil liberties and human rights in the north of England. They help fight for the rights of vulnerable and underprivileged people.
Ms Lachman said of Bradford’s local election results that Labour had strengthened its hold in the city. She said:
“Our city has seen the brunt of the austerity cuts by the Conservative government. This has a direct impact on the most vulnerable people in our society. The results show a rejection of the austerity cuts; a rejection of racist overtones which have been part of the Mayor of London campaign and it is also a vote against the recent controversy at the government’s failure to legislate against the tax havens and off shore accounts of the rich. The Government has shown little reaction to this issue.”
“It is important though that Labour does not get complacent, but uses its strength to challenge the politics of division.”