Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing Southall, has become the sixth Labour MP to face a full selection process to be the party’s candidate at the next general election, after losing a third “trigger ballot” vote in his constituency this evening.
Sharma, who has represented the London constituency since 2007, lost a previous two votes several weeks ago, to some controversy after suggestions that some who had voted were not eligible. The votes were then declared “null and void”, only for the votes to be upheld after senior Labour figures intervened to restart the process.
After the controversial triggering of MPs including Margaret Hodge and Kate Osamor, Sharma is the latest MP to face a full selection process (and, therefore, possible deselection) after the introduction of rules which make it easier for local Labour party members to vote for a full parliamentary reselection.
The rules, celebrated by Corbyn allies as a means of maximising the say that local Labour parties have over their MP, even in safe seats, have been controversial, with critics arguing that the process is disproportinately targeting women and ethnic minorities.
Virendra Sharma told the New Statesman: “This campaign has been marred by irregularities, serious enough for the Regional Director to rule the process null and void. Unfortunately the NEC, or their spokespeople, have overruled the Regional Director and reinstated the result for political purposes.”
“As a candidate who came to this country with nothing, worked as a bus conductor, and through the trades union movement became politically involved, I represent Ealing Southall. I represent the dreams of millions who came to this country, but unfortunately because I am not ideologically pure enough a hard left core have chosen to trigger me. I will stand in any full selection and I stand to win because I know I am the right person to represent Ealing Southall.”