A Labor MP who was declared ill amid a ‘sustained campaign of misogynistic abuse’ now faces a vote on whether she will be allowed to stand in the next election.
The party has confirmed that the threshold to hold a trigger poll in Apsana Begum – meaning local party members can vote to keep her as their candidate or opt for someone else – has been passed and a vote now goes take place, despite sources close to her saying over 40 complaints had been made to Labor over the process.
Friends of Ms Begum, who is Parliament’s first hijab-wearing MP, say local members broke rules to campaign for her deselection, but say the party refused to suspend the vote to investigate.
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One told Sky News: “She’s not against the process, she just wants to be treated fairly
“This is outrageous. Why don’t you stop the process and investigate?”
Labor would not comment on the specifics of the case, but a source said the trigger ballot was ‘a universal process faced by all Labor MPs under the same rules and procedures’, and Ms Begum will automatically be on the shortlist.
At last year’s Labor Party Conference, the leadership pushed through a rule change that saw the threshold needed to trigger a ballot in an incumbent MP relieved.
Ms Begum released a statement last month saying her GP had declared her ill following her hospitalization.
She added: “During my tenure as an MP, I have been subjected to a sustained campaign of misogynistic abuse and harassment. As a survivor of domestic violence, this has been particularly painful and difficult.
“This abusive campaign has had a significant effect on my mental and physical health.”
At the time, she called on the Labor Party to investigate complaints about the election call process, saying it was ‘vital’ they looked into them and took ‘appropriate action’.
Last year, Ms Begum was cleared of housing fraud after her local council brought her to justice.
Tower Hamlets Council have taken legal action, alleging she failed to disclose information relating to her application for social housing.
But her lawyer claimed a complaint filed in 2019 by her ex-husband’s brother-in-law, which sparked the investigation, was “false”.
During the trial, she alleged that her former partner, local councilor Ehtashmul Haque, had been emotionally abusive and controlling. Mr. Haque has denied all the allegations against him.