Labour Women Leading has issued a call for support for Apsana Begum, Labour MP for Poplar & Limehouse, following a campaign of bullying and harrassment against her.
Many of us were delighted by the election of a lively young hijab-wearing MP in Poplar & Limehouse in 2019. And what an inspiration she has been! She has worked tirelessly for her constituents and spoken out on a range of important issues. She has suffered racism and misogyny, yet received minimal support from the party establishment. There is now a real danger that she is facing de-selection through no fault of her own. Labour Women Leading has called on Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Secretary of State for Women & Equalities, to ensure that Apsana receives the support that she needs at this crucial time. Please also act to support Apsana in whatever way you can.
We have been deeply impressed by the way in which Apsana Begum MP has confronted sexism, racism and Islamophobia to be elected as an MP, and has worked so hard for her constituents. In a society which can be very hostile to young Muslim women, it has been extremely positive to have her as part of the PLP and, of course, she has been a trailblazer in being the first UK MP to wear the hijab.
Domestic abuse is an issue which women across the labour movement have campaigned on, and Apsana has not only spoken out about her own experiences, but has brought this to her role as Chair of the APPG on Domestic Violence and Abuse.
We need to ensure that those who have survived abuse and/or violence are provided with the support that they need, and the Party has to be seen to ensure women MPs’ health and safety.
We would, therefore, have expected that every effort would have been made to ensure that the Trigger Ballot process for Poplar & Limehouse was conducted in a way which ensured that the highest procedural standards were met.
However, it appears that complaints and safeguarding requests relating to the process have gone unanswered and there are concerns about the way in which it has been conducted. We understand that formal complaints have been submitted relating to breaches of the code of conduct and the procedures established for the conduct of such ballots, as well as misuse of members data.
We call upon the Party to:
- Halt the Trigger Ballot process until the complaints have been investigated.
- Ensure that Apsana and local members are informed of the steps that are being taken to ensure that this process is entirely fair and without bias.
- Demonstrate that it takes its commitment to women and diversity seriously.