Conservative campaigners celebrating their victory at Chingford and Woodford Green count

Tories hold Chingford and Woodford Green amidst left-wing split

A meagre 79 votes separated the two left-wing candidates as former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith was re-elected for an eighth time in Chingford and Woodford Green overnight.

Early predictions hinted at victory in the seat for Labour’s Shama Tatler, but she won just 12,524 votes to Faiza Shaheen’s 12,445, who was deselected by Labour in May.

Despite seeing his vote share decrease by 12.6% since 2019, Duncan Smith’s 17,281 votes were enough to retain the seat, largely due to Labour’s vote share decreasing by 19.4%.

Shaheen said: “How often does this happen that an independent candidate gets this many votes, as many as a party that’s been around for 100 years?

“It’s not personal to Tatler, but it’s something about what the community wants about having a local representative, and that’s important to us, and they ignored that and they saw the consequences.”

Shaheen was deselected following a party probe into historic social media posts allegedly downplaying anti-semitism accusations.

Asked about her message for Labour, she said: “Parachuting in candidates, trying to destroy someone’s life that hasn’t done anything is not okay.”

Represented by Tatler, who could not be reached for comment, Labour saw their share reduce by 20.1% in the north east London constituency.

Tatler’s and Shaheen’s vote shares combined would have been more than enough for an overall majority of votes at 51.5%.

Asked whether he was more grateful to Shaheen for running as an independent or Labour for deselecting her, Duncan Smith said: “What the Labour party does is their problem, not mine.”

In attendance supporting Shaheen were two of 50 local Labour members who resigned from the party in an open letter to Keir Starmer over Shaheen’s deselection.

Selase Kwawu, 25, said: “Faiza had this in the bag, it should have been a walk in the park for her, and that was taken from her and from us, the people who actually chose her as our representative.

“It worries me how they’re going to treat the general population on a national scale once they get into government.”

Photo of Selase Kwawu with a ‘Faiza’.
Selase Kwawu, a Faiza campaigner at the count

Asked about the constituency’s future, Noelle Harrington, 65, said: “I’m sure Faiza would speak out. She lives in the area, she’s the only person who’s affected by the closure of the Broadmead Road Bridge, she’s the only person who’s affected by Whipps Cross Hospital.

“Iain Duncan Smith isn’t and Shama Tatler isn’t, they don’t live here.”

The Chingford & Woodford Green count was one of three at the Feel Good leisure centre in Walthamstow along with Walthamstow and Leyton & Wanstead.

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy was re-elected for Labour and was asked about what a large national mandate meant for their prospects in government.

She said: “The first challenge that an incoming Labour government will have is to convince people that governments can do anything at all, that when a politician says ‘we can do X’, X will happen.

“What I am very concerned about at the moment is people have lost all hope in the idea that governments can plan to do things and to make them happen at all.

“People are so used to governments offering the moon on a stick and they’re not even bothering to make that happen.

“I passionately disagreed with the Rwanda legislation but most people had grown increasingly cynical that it was just a ploy to give the Conservatives something to talk about.”

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