Pro-Palestine candidate pulls off shock win against Labour's Khalid Mahmood (2024)

Pro-Palestine independent candidateAyoub Khan pulled off a shock win againstLabour's long-standing parliamentarian Khalid Mahmood in the UKgeneral election on Friday, winning the seat of Birmingham Perry Barr by the slim majority of 507 votes.

Khan secured 13,303 votes in total, winning with 35.5 percent of the vote share, while Mahmood,who has represented the constituency since 2001, received 12,796 votes, or 34.1 percent of the vote share.

"I know that voting for an independent is sometimes very difficult," Khan said in his victory speech immediately after being declared the winner. "It's not an easy thing to do, and to the average person, fighting a battle against the Labour machine is always going to be an uphill struggle.

"But it comes down to, in my view, a few simple matters: justice, fairness and equality - whether that's local, national or international."

Khan then proceeded to wear a scarf branded with the Palestinian flag and dedicated his win to the people of Gaza.

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A local councillor and barrister by profession, Khan resigned from the Liberal Democrats in May claiming that "they wanted to prevent me from speaking about Gaza."Campaigning on local issues such as the cost of living crisis, crime and unemployment, as well as on Israel's ongoing war on Gaza, he received significant backing from the constituency's large Muslim voter base.

For several months, voters across the UK, especially from amongst the Muslim community, voiced dissatisfaction with Labour, especially over the party's early stance when it called for an "enduring cessation of fighting" instead of a comprehensive ceasefire.

Prior to Thursday's vote, Mahmood, first elected for Labour in 2001, repeatedly lauded his credentials as an MP and evendescribed himself as "the most senior serving Muslim parliamentarian."

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However, in the past week, the veteran politician faced a deluge of criticism for arguing with worshippers at a mosque over Labour’s position on Gaza, in avideowhich was shared widely on social media.

"Shut up and listen, please," he could be heard saying in the video. "Give me the respect. I give you the respect, just listen."

Although Mahmood defied Labour leader Keir Starmer in November to vote for a ceasefire in Gaza,many said they felt compelled to vote for an unwaveringly pro-ceasefire candidate and party.

Israel's war on Gaza, now nearing its tenth month,has destroyed large swaths of the besieged territory and forced nearly the entire population to flee their homes at least once.

More than 38,000 people have been killed, the great majority of them women and children. Thousands more are missing or presumed to be dead under the rubble.

Communicable diseases are rapidly spreading, and infant mortality has skyrocketed.

Independent's win big

Although it was a spectacular night for Labour, with the party winning a landslide victory with at least 411 seats in the House of Commons, it performedbadly in areas with a high proportion of Muslim voters.

Although it was a spectacular night for Labour, with the party winning a landslide victory with at least 411 seats in the House of Commons, it performedbadly in areas with a high proportion of Muslim votersin a sign of anger towards Keir Starmer over Labour's position on Israel's war in Gaza.

In one of the biggest shocks of the night, pro-Palestine candidateIqbal Mohamed unseatedLabour's Heather Iqbalin the West Yorkshire constituency of Dewsbury & Batley in spectaculra fashion, winning with 41.1 percent of the total vote share.

In thenorthwestern ex-industrial town of Blackburn, independent candidateAdnan Hussainnarrowly defeatedLabour's Kate Hollern byjust 132 votes after the vote was split with another candidate, Craig Murray, who also stood on a pro-Gaza platform for George Galloway's Workers Party.

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In Islington North,Jeremy Corbyn was reelectedto the seat he has held since 1983 – but this time as an independent, rather than for Labour.He won with 49.2 percent of the vote, while the Labour candidate came in second with 34.4 percent.

In his victory speech, Corbyn said the voters of Islington North were "looking for a government that on the world stage will search for peace, not war, and not allow the terrible conditions to go on that are happening in Gaza at the present time."

And in Birmingham Perry Barr, independentAyoub Khandefeated Labour incumbent Khalid Mahmood, who had held the seat since 2001, by 507 votes.

Meanwhile, in Holborn and St Pancras, Starmerheld his London seat but with asignificantly decreased majority- down 17 percent from the last election - whilst in Ilford North, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting saw his majority fall from more than 9,000 in 2019 to just 528 against 23-year-oldLeanne Mohamad.

Despite serving as an MP for Birmingham Perry Barr for more than two decades, Mahmood has been no stranger to controversy.

A firm supporter of both the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq under Tony Blair's Labour government, he later became a proponent of the now-debunked Trojan Horse conspiracy that there was a plot by Muslims to take over Birmingham schools.

Mahmood has never acknowledged that the Trojan Horse plot was a hoax.

Pro-Palestine candidate pulls off shock win against Labour's Khalid Mahmood (2024)


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