DECEMBER 9, 2022
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Independent Candidates Challenge UK Political Establishment Due to Gaza Conflict

Independent Candidates Challenge UK Political Establishment Due to Gaza Conflict

Britain's tightly controlled political system is facing new challenges from independent candidates, especially in light of the country’s ongoing support for the genocide in Gaza.

With the Conservative Party facing a historic defeat after 14 years in power, many pollsters predict a landslide victory for the Labour Party. However, this shift appears to be driven more by anti-Conservative sentiment than a strong pro-Labour stance.

In the Midlands region, numerous independent candidates are running against those from the established parties, with the UK's support for the Gaza genocide being a central issue for voters deciding on July 4. The disdain is directed at both main parties, Labour and the Conservatives.

British Muslims have traditionally supported Labour, but the party's stance on the US-Israeli genocide in Gaza has cast doubt on that support in the upcoming general elections. In Derby South, former Labour MP Chris Williamson is running for the Workers Party of Britain, citing widespread disillusionment with the main parties and horror over the Gaza conflict.

"We're finding that horror about [the genocide in Gaza], and Britain's complicity in it, is actually very widespread across the constituency," Williamson said.

In Birmingham, which has a 29.9% Muslim population, several independent candidates are running with endorsements from the Muslim Vote campaign, a movement aimed at helping Muslims understand their voting options. Shakeel Afsar, a local businessman and longtime campaigner for Palestinian liberation, is one such candidate.

"The highest recorded religious hate crimes for the last three years have been against Muslims. Yet there's no robust campaign to challenge that or tackle that," Afsar stated. He highlighted local issues like deprivation and reliance on food banks, which he connects to broader foreign policy decisions.

The Labour Party faces significant electoral consequences due to its pro-Israel stance. The alienation of the UK's Muslim populations over Gaza has fueled support for independent candidates like Afsar and Williamson. Should a few of these insurgent candidates win their battles, it could send shockwaves through Westminster and challenge the dominance of the two-party system.

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