Apsana Begum, an MP for the Labour party in the UK, has accused the party of harassment and targeting her because she is a “socialist, Muslim, working-class woman,” the Guardian reported.
Begum announced in June that she had been signed off sick from work as a result of what she described as a “sustained campaign of misogynistic abuse.”
Members of Begum’s constituency party voted to initiate a “trigger ballot,” a mechanism through which local branches and affiliated groups decide whether a sitting MP should be allowed to stand again at the next general election unimpeded or need to go through a re-selection process.
The Poplar and Limehouse MP said she received no support from the Labour Party as she faced the vote on her deselection.
During an appearance at the World Transformed festival at the Labour conference in Liverpool, Begum said she experienced “factionalism and racism” within the party. “I have never been given a fair chance. The level of inhumanity towards me has been chilling,” she added.
Regarding her party’s decision to proceed with the trigger ballot even though she was on sick leave, Begum said: “I can’t think of any circumstance where it would be acceptable but particularly a party which is supposed to be a party of labour.”
According to the Guardian, Labour previously stated that Begum is subject to the same rules as all MPs and that the threshold for triggering a new selection process was significantly increased by rule changes championed by Keir Starmer last year. As a result, Begum will automatically be included on the shortlist.
However, the party’s headquarters reportedly has received complaints about disruption, intimidation and harassment targeting women. Begum said had to go to hospital in June as a result of mental health issues and was subsequently signed off on sick leave. She announced this month that she planned to return to work gradually.
“I have faced a relentless and sustained campaign of abuse and harassment, which has even included vexatious litigation seeking to send me to jail,” she said in a return to work statement.
“As the chair of the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) on domestic abuse and violence, I believe that the Labour party has shown a lack of understanding regarding tackling domestic abuse, including post-separation harassment,” she said
Begum said she wrote to Labour’s general secretary, David Evans, to say she is “seeking advice and considering taking legal action”.
Begum’s previous allegations of domestic abuse emerged last year when she was acquitted of fraud for allegedly withholding information about her personal circumstances to obtain social housing, according to the Guardian.
Tower Hamlets council claimed she had failed to disclose that she had moved in with her partner. The MP said she had notified authorities for council tax purposes, she was going through a difficult time personally because of family issues, and that a “controlling and coercive” partner, Ehtashamul Haque, had taken control of her affairs. He denies this.