Faiza Shaheen

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Person.png Dr Faiza Shaheen   Facebook Instagram Twitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(political activist, economist, author)
Faiza Shaheen.jpg
Born1982
Alma materSt John's College (Oxford), University of Manchester
PartyLabour, Independent

Faiza Shaheen is a British economist, author and political activist who has been barred from standing as a Labour Party candidate at the UK/General election/2024.[1]

On 29 May 2024, Faiza Shaheen told the BBC programme Newsnight that the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee had emailed her that evening to remove her as a candidate for the Chingford and Woodford Green seat in northeast London, having previously questioned her about 15 social media posts.[2] The programme highlighted one post in particular, which referenced a Jon Stewart sketch on freedom of expression in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Shaheen had liked the post, prompting the Jewish Labour Movement to complain its members were “concerned” about the “tone” of the Labour candidate’s social media posts.[3]

Brent councillor (and JLM member) Shama Tatler was parachuted in as Labour’s candidate for Chingford & Woodford Green the day after Faiza Shaheen’s removal. Faiza has described Shama as someone with “no links to the local community”.

Independent

"I am standing here to win, to beat the Conservatives, to finish what we started"

Breaking news on 2 June 2024:

"Blocked Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen to stand as an Independent in general election against Labour in Chingford & Woodford Green."[4]

Faiza Shaheen has announced she will stand as an Independent candidate for Chingford & Woodford Green at the general election on 4th July.

In a statement on X/Twitter, the former Labour candidate said she had reached the decision following “hundreds of messages” from locals who say “there are no options left for them”. She said:

“They are tired of the Tories but now feel they can’t trust Labour. They feel disenfranchised by Labour’s decision to remove me and feel it would be impossible for the party to win here without a local candidate, rooted in the community, and that such a voice is vitally needed.”
Promoting her background as a Chingford local, Faiza said the area deserved better than “a mansion-dwelling Conservative MP, far removed from the reality of ordinary people’s lives”.

The former Labour candidate was deselected one day after she had a meeting with a Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) panel over 14 tweets she liked from 2014 to 2024.[5]

Early life and education

Faiza Shaheen was born at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, in East London. Her father was a car mechanic from Fiji and her mother was a lab technician from Pakistan.

She attended Chingford Foundation School and St John's College, Oxford University, where she read philosophy, politics and economics. Shaheen also holds an MSc in Research Methods & Statistics and a PhD from the University of Manchester.

Career

Faiza Shaheen has been the head of inequality and sustainable development at Save the Children UK and a senior researcher on economic inequality at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). She was the director of a left-wing policy think tank, the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS).

Shaheen is a regular contributor to debates on television news programmes, including Newsnight and Channel 4 News, and has worked with Channel 4 and the BBC to develop documentaries on inequality.

Politics

Faiza Shaheen is a longtime Labour voter and was politicised from an early age. She joined the Labour Party when Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015.

In 2017, The Guardian identified her as a "rising star". In the same year, she was nominated for Asian Woman of the Year at the Asian Achievers Awards and included in the Top 100 Influencers on the Left list.

In July 2018, she was selected to be the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party for Chingford and Woodford Green; at the UK/General election/2019 she gained 22,219 votes, finishing a close second behind the Tory incumbent, Iain Duncan Smith on 23,481.[6]

After being challenged for the nomination by Bilal Mahmood, a Blairite candidate who stood in the 2015 and 2017 elections, the Chingford and Woodford Green CLP selected Faiza Shaheen to fight the seat again for the Labour Party at the next general election. On 23 July 2022, she tweeted:

"We won!"[7]

Books

Faiza Shaheen's book "Know Your Place" was published in June 2023:

At four years old, Dr Faiza Shaheen was told by her mum that one day she would study at the University of Oxford. As the daughter of a car mechanic attending state schools, the odds were low, but she worked hard and succeeded. Today, she’s a leading statistician and standing for election as a Member of Parliament.
Why do we glorify success as personal triumph like this? These narratives purposely erase the role of public services, where you are born, and luck – and they tell us that anyone can follow the same path.
Rather than making working-class mobility the norm, what Faiza accomplished makes her an exception, and it’s statistically impossible for everyone to be the exception. The inconvenient truth, as this book proves, is that social mobility is a fairy tale. Society today will not give most of us the chance of a secure and fulfilling life. That is unacceptable.
Part memoir, part polemic, "Know Your Place" is a personal and statistical look at how society and the economy are structured, what really defines your life chances and how our current system keeps us locked into an ugly hierarchy. But more than that, it’s a powerful call for collective fighting to reinvent things as we want them to be; it’s about breaking out, finding hope and not staying in your place. We can change things, and this is how.[8]

Personal life

Faiza Shaheen is married to the actor Akin Gazi.


 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Faiza Shaheen dropped by Labour for liking pro-BDS, Corbyn and Green Party postsArticle30 May 2024Peter OborneLeft-wing Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen is deselected for 15 social media posts between 2014 and 2024 on issues from Islamophobia to Israeli lobbying, MEE has been informed.
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References

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