The Birmingham Mail reports that a RESPECT councillor is to step down. The article includes this surprising claim:
Salma Yaqoob could have been taking up the fight in Westminster if she had accepted a Labour teaser of a guaranteed safe seat in the lead-up to the General Election last year.
She was given a choice of traditional strongholds if she staged a high-profile defection from Respect to join the ranks of Labour candidates.
She said: “I do not like mainstream politics which does not accurately reflect the concerns of many of the residents of inner-city Birmingham.
“I was approached by Labour and offered a choice of two safe seats – one in Birmingham and one in the Black Country. If I could have made the areas stronger I would have taken the opportunity. But it’s important to have the freedom to say what needs to be said.
“If it was just about my career it would have been a nice move, but it is not all about me,” she added
Who knows if this is true.
Certainly, Salma Yaqoob has worked closely with other Labour Party figures, on the extremist wing of the party: including Raed Salah supporter Richard Burden MP and of course Ken Livingstone.
If Yaqoob had been offered such a seat, it would have provided Labour’s critics with an open goal. Salma Yaqoob was widely and properly criticised for describing 7/7 as a “reprisal attack“. However, her connections with Islamist extremism go back far further than her association with RESPECT. She was part of the campaign team which supported the family of Abu Hamza, who were caught while taking part in jihadist training in Yemen. Most disgracefully, she wrote an article in Inayat Bunglawala’s “Trends” magazine, which imagined Britain becoming an Islamic Republic, from which Salman Rushdie was depicted fleeing for his life.
All this, and more, would have been used: not just against Yaqoob, but against Labour generally.
As Rob Marchant put it on Labour List: Our tolerance of extremism will do for us