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Brent Labour councillor to challenge Iain Duncan Smith’s seat after Faiza Shaheen blocked

A North London Labour councillor has been selected to challenge former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan-Smith for his East London seat at the general election. Brent Councillor, Shama Tatler, is standing to be MP for Chingford and Woodford Green next month –  but will be retaining her Cabinet post during the campaign.

Having seen his majority being steadily eroded over the past few elections, Mr Duncan-Smith held onto his seat by a narrow margin of 1,193 votes in 2019. However, according to Electoral Calculus – a ‘poll-of-polls’ used to predict the result of an election if it happened tomorrow – he has a 94 per cent chance of losing it to Labour on July 4.

Brent Council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that ‘nothing has changed’ since Ms Tatler was chosen to run for parliament and ‘is still a serving councillor and Cabinet Member’. The candidate was out in her new constituency over the weekend to drum up support.

On X she wrote: “A chance to put decades of Tory failure here behind us. On 4 July, let’s get on with the job of changing Britain for the better.” It comes after Faiza Shaheen was told that she won’t be the party’s candidate after allegedly liking anti-Semitic posts on social media platform, X.

Following the announcement, Ms Shaheen took to X to voice her displeasure at the decision. She said:  “Really! Wow a Brent councillor with no history here at all. They would rather lose than have a left pro-Palestine candidate. This is offensive to my community.”

Brent Labour councillor to challenge Iain Duncan Smith's seat after Faiza Shaheen blocked Harrow Online
Iain Duncan Smith. Incumbent Iain Duncan Smith is at risk of losing his seat at the upcoming election, according to Electoral Calculus. Image Credit: UK Government.

The Leader of Brent Liberal Democrats, Cllr Anton Georgiou, is furious that Ms Tatler hasn’t stepped down from her duties at the council whilst she runs for election. Cllr Georgiou thinks she ‘should resign immediately’ from her roles as a councillor and Cabinet member – both of which are paid an annual allowance.

He told the LDRS: “She is getting paid to do a job whilst spending the next five weeks trying to be an MP. It’s disrespectful to residents of Kingsbury that they will have a part-time councillor for the period where she is going to be off swanning about in Chingford trying to become elected there. She should resign. Immediately.”

He added: “If she loses she will just get back on to the council and continue in her Cabinet role. If she wins she will have to resign, causing a by-election that could have been held on the same day as the general election – saving Brent taxpayers money.”

Shama Tatler was approached for comment on why she has chosen to stand, what pledges she is making to constituents of Chingford and Woodford Green, and how her constituents of Kingsbury will be represented whilst she is campaigning. She did not respond ahead of publication.

On the functions of Cabinet, a spokesperson for the Labour Group at Brent Council said: “Within the Council, decisions are taken collectively by all ten Cabinet members. All elected councillors are subject to pre-election legislation which restricts their public duties when an election is in progress. As such, Cabinet will continue to function as before.”

The Brent Conservative Group was approached for comment but did not respond ahead of publication. Alongside Ms Tatler, there are further seven candidates standing in Chingford and Woodford Green: Chris Brody for the Green Party, Josh Hadley for the Liberal Democrats, Yousaff Khan for the Workers Party of Britain, Paul Luggeri of Reform UK, Faiza Shaheen as an Independent, and Iain Duncan Smith of the Conservative Party.

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