Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Salma responds: "Focus on the people of Bradford West."

My response to the letter handed to me by Naz Shah.

John Stolliday, Director of Governance and Legal Unit
By email

Dear John

Thank you for your letter dated 22nd May 2017. I am sorry that you feel concerned by my leaflet.

On your concern with the leaflet’s claim “A vote for Salma is a vote for Corbyn,” I stand by this political point - a vote for me does not undermine or weaken support for Jeremy Corbyn. For almost two decades, I have consistently campaigned on policy issues, which also reflect the principles of the Labour leader. On these issues and principles, a vote for me would mean that the people of Bradford West are given the chance to right the wrongs under Naz Shah, who has neglected constituents in favour of her own political ambitions.

On your other concern regarding my photo with Jeremy Corbyn, this is not in any way implying an endorsement by him. Rather, it accurately reflects how we have campaigned alongside each other for many years, including anti-war rallies over 15 years, austerity and student fees protests, and in campaigns to protect our precious public services.

At no point in the leaflet do I make the claim of an endorsement from Jeremy Corbyn or the Labour Party. In fact, this is a malicious accusation made in your letter and in Naz Shah’s petty political game designed to discredit my campaign, which is focused on reversing the years of neglect in Bradford West.

This is evident in Naz Shah’s track record of failure. Naz Shah campaigned against Jeremy Corbyn in his bid for leadership. She also joined 184 Labour MPs in refusing to oppose the Tory Party’s Welfare Bill on 21st July 2015, which proposed the unfair household benefit cap and cuts to child tax credits . These cuts are impacting on the most vulnerable constituents in Bradford West. 30,000 children in the constituency are living below the poverty line and increasing numbers of people are having to rely on food banks.

When it came to a choice between Whitehall politics and standing up for her disadvantaged local residents, Naz Shah betrayed her constituents.

The people of Bradford West deserve better. By standing as an Independent candidate, they now have a choice to vote for someone who will uphold their principles, champion their rights and fearlessly voice their interests, whilst supporting Corbyn on a national level. A vote for Salma, therefore, is not a vote against Corbyn; it is an endorsement of his policies.

I would appreciate if we focus our energies on the issues that matter, which is reversing the years of neglect for the people of Bradford West. The false accusations made against my leaflet distract from this purpose and aim to misrepresent my pure intentions to serve the people of Bradford West. Residents should be free to choose who they want to be their representative. Maligning opponents, whilst perhaps a useful political tactic, is a disservice to Bradford West’s residents.

The people of Bradford West have had enough of being used as pawns in Naz Shah’s political chess game.

I am proud of my positive campaign, and my practical manifesto which aims to reverse years of neglect in Bradford West by the establishment and to raise aspirations. My four key local priorities are 1. Education, 2. Supporting local businesses and job creation, 3. Improving Health outcomes and 4. Celebrating the successes of Bradford West to counteract negative perceptions and to promote a positive and inclusive image.

I hope to work collaboratively with people from all backgrounds and to transcend ‘tribal’ politics to achieve real change. I will focus on practical solutions, not mere slogans. I have a 100-day plan for each of my priority areas and will bring this to the people of Bradford West.

I kindly urge you to focus on the people of Bradford West.

Yours sincerely,

Salma Yaqoob

Bradford West Independent Candidate