Former Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob has announced that she is standing in Bradford West as an independent candidate in the upcoming general election.
Bradford West was held by the Respect MP George Galloway until May 2015 when he was beaten by Labour’s Naz Shah, with 19,977 votes compared to 8,557.
Yaqoob stood in the 2010 General Election, where she came second in the Birmingham constituency of Hall Green. She quit Respect in 2012 after distancing herself from controversial comments made by party colleague George Galloway about rape.
Yaqoob, who was born in Bradford but lives in Birmingham, yesterday released a statement, saying: “Bradford West is at a critical juncture at which it faces a choice between more of the same or lasting and positive change. For too long, the constituency has been let down by Tory and Labour party neglect. Residents are fed up with the complacency of the local political establishment.
“For years, education and training has been left to deteriorate. Unemployment is high and local businesses struggle to recruit talent. This is a fundamental failing of those in power who have allowed Bradford West to be left behind. This must be corrected.”
She will enter an eight-way fight for the seat. Other candidates standing in Bradford West are:
George Peter Beaumont Grant – Conservative
Alun Owen Griffiths – Liberal Democrat
Celia Ruth Hickson – The Green Party
Muhammad Hijazi – Independent
Derrick John Hodgson – UKIP
Khadmin Hussain – Independent
Naz Shah – Labour