UK: Labour MP Apsana Begum alleges party harassment

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Published: 9/29/2022 6:35:46 AM

The Labour MP Apsana Begum alleges that the party targeted her because she is a "socialist, Muslim, working-class woman," and that she did not receive any support from the party when she was up for deselection while on sick leave.

Begum has blamed a campaign of targeted harassment locally for the vote to start a full re-selection process in her seat, which she has linked to domestic abuse she alleged against her former husband.


Speaking at the World Transformed festival at the Labour conference in Liverpool, she said she had experienced “factionalism and racism” in the party. “I have never been given a fair chance,” the Poplar and Limehouse MP said. “The level of inhumanity towards me has been chilling.”


She said “dedicated and courageous” campaigners had complained to the party and submitted evidence of irregularity. “I can’t think of any circumstance where it would be acceptable,” she said, of the party’s decision to continue the trigger process while she was signed off sick. “But particularly a party which is supposed to be a party of labour.”

Labour has previously said Begum is subject to the same rules as every MP and that the threshold for triggering a new selection process was made significantly more difficult by rule changes pushed by Keir Starmer last year. Begum will automatically be on the shortlist.

Begum recently announced she was gradually returning to work after a period of sick leave caused by what she said was “misogynistic abuse and harassment” linked to efforts to deselect her from her seat.

In her return to work statement earlier this month, she said: “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.

“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.”

Begum said she has written to Labour’s general secretary, David Evans, saying she is “seeking advice and considering taking legal action”.


The MP said she attended hospital in June because of her mental health and was signed off sick.

But despite being signed off sick, members of Begum’s local party voted to start a full re-selection process – called a trigger ballot – meaning she could lose her seat to another candidate.

Complaints have been made to the party’s headquarters about disruption and intimidation and harassment towards women.

Begum’s prior allegations of domestic abuse emerged when she was acquitted last year of fraud for having allegedly withheld information about her circumstances to obtain social housing.

Tower Hamlets council said Begum had not notified the council when she moved in with her partner. The MP said she had notified Tower Hamlets for council tax purposes, that she was in a difficult personal period due to family reasons and that her “controlling and coercive” partner, Ehtashamul Haque, had taken over her affairs, which he denies.

Labour has been approached for comment.

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