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New defection is bad for Labour’s health

Dr Anwara Ali, a senior councillor, has joined the Tories

Labour suffered another defection today, as a leading councillor switched to the Tories.

Dr Anwara Ali – a GP who was promoted as the face of an NHS breast cancer campaign – ditched Labour in a carefully choreographed resignation.

A lead member for health on Tower Hamlets council, who previously held the employment and equalities portfolios – Dr Ali was welcomed to the Conservatives by the party chairman Eric Pickles (see picture below).

Pickled Politics:Dr Ali and the party chairman

The defection comes on a day when Labour called a press conference – set for next Monday – to parade their black and Asian general election candidates.

Labour’s move follows extensive coverage in the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday about the 44 BME candidates who the Tories have selected so far.

As we noted last weekend, at least 12 (maybe as many as 14) are in a very winnable position, and could even overtake Labour – a prediction Labour will no doubt be keen to dispel next week.

In recent months Labour has lost Croydon councillor Greta Sohoye and Lambeth councillor Betty Evans-Jacas, as well as Denise Headley in Enfield.

The Tories have also picked up Chamali and Chandila Fernando and Norsheen Bhatti from the Lib Dems in the past year.

Dr Ali claimed she had been a lifelong Labour supporter but was leaving Labour because “the country cannot afford five more years of Gordon Brown.”

As a health expert, her comments will raise eyebrows in the context of the cash Labour has pumped into the NHS since 1997, so the true story behind her decision to cross the floor may yet emerge.

However her senior status as a local politician cannot be dismissed, and Labour high command will be hoping that there are no other defections between now and next Monday at the very least.

By Lester Holloway

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5 Responses

  1. Good luck to Anwara. It’s interesting it’s the BME women that are showing some spine and Cameron is indeed starting to look very attractive to the BME community. Labour should be extremely worried at BME women deserting them. They are the people who will influence the rest of their families. The treatment of Betty Evans-Jacus in Lambeth and Denise Headley in Enfield was appalling.

  2. And Brown is very unattractive to Black people. Blair knew how to talk to them but Brown comes across as a cynical and disingenous bully.

    • Carl,

      Blair, with his wonderful personality, deceptively got through to the Black and Minority Ethnic community. I am glad like Dr. Ali, I am one of the few who has seen through it.

  3. That’s if we assume that these ‘defections’ are about party and not personal interests.

  4. Another defection of a minority ethnic citizen from New Labour has come as no surprise to me. For a party that has built its policies for years on winning the white working class votes and has greatly underestimated British born minority ethnic citizens, it is only inevitable that it would eventually be exposed for its racist policies. Blaming Gordon Brown alone will be very unfair; considering that theirs was a bad policy that had taken years to plan and put into practise. It has finally manifested and it is not painting New Labour in a good light. I have never encountered a political party that has done enough to put me off of politics like New Labour has. The Conservatives appear to be a much more forward thinking party on racial equality than New Labour.

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