Ronnie O’Sullivan backs ousted Faiza Shaheen as she runs against Labour

The snooker star has previously endorsed the Labour Party in general elections
The snooker star has previously endorsed the Labour Party in general elections - Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Ronnie O’Sullivan has endorsed a Left-wing election candidate ousted by Labour, ending his past support for the party.

The reigning Masters snooker champion is backing Faiza Shaheen in Chingford and Woodford Green after she was dropped by Sir Keir Starmer’s party for allegedly liking online posts downplaying anti-Semitism accusations.

Ms Shaheen resigned from Labour earlier this month and is running as an independent in the seat currently held by Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader.

O’Sullivan publicly endorsed Labour under Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 and 2017, appearing on the campaign trail with both former leaders.

But in a video on Twitter, O’Sullivan said his Chingford and Woodford Green constituency needed “a local person that’s in touch with local people”.

“I know Faiza has lived around here all her life, went to school here, and is a massive part of the community and she knows what’s right for the community,” he said.

“Someone without passion dictating what goes on around this area isn’t going to be good for the locals, so for me it’s about engaging in this stuff and supporting someone that knows this area really well.

“So passion is a massive thing, I think Faiza has bundles of it and she just wants what’s great for this community, so for me it’s a no-brainer. I’m definitely going to be voting for Faiza.”

Appealing to others to support Ms Shaheen, he concluded: “I want all of you out there to be voting for Faiza as well because I know she wants what’s right for the community. So if you care about your community, get behind Faiza.”

Faiza Shaheen was removed as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate in the east London seat and is now standing as an independent
Faiza Shaheen was removed as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate and is now standing as an independent - Guy Smallman/Getty Images Europe

At the start of the clip, Ms Shaheen said: “I’m actually fangirling in such a big way right now. I’ve been a huge fan of yours and just watching snooker for a really long time.”

O’Sullivan is also set to appear alongside the Left-wing activist and economist at a rally in Woodford on Sunday.

Days before the general election in 2015, he filmed a video playing alongside Mr Miliband at a pool hall in Sheffield.

A Facebook post by the now-shadow energy secretary from the last general election in 2019 showed O’Sullivan had helped with canvassing as part of his re-election efforts in his Doncaster constituency.

Ms Shaheen has said she reached her decision to stand against her former party following “hundreds of messages from people in my community” who are “tired of the Tories but now feel they can’t trust Labour”.

Shaheen's exclusion from the Labour candidacy led to protests
Shaheen's exclusion from the Labour candidacy led to protests - Guy Smallman/Getty Images Europe

She previously insisted she did not remember liking one of the social media posts that led to her being blocked. The post alleged that anyone critical of Israel is “assailed” by “professional organisations” who inflict “non-stop harassment” and “accuse you of anti-Semitism”.

Seven Labour councillors in Slough tore up their membership following the decision to bar Ms Shaheen, which followed a row over the treatment of Diane Abbott, the former shadow home secretary.

Ms Abbott claimed she had initially been blocked from standing for election with Labour, only for Sir Keir Starmer to allow her to do so following public pressure from Angela Rayner, his deputy.

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