Politician Wes Streeting stands at a podium on a black stage. He is flanked by other Ilford North candidates. There is a pink and grey checkered board with 'Redbridge' logos behind them.

Labour win in Ilford seats but Shadow Health Secretary narrowly avoids shock defeat

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting barely held on to his Ilford North seat as Labour suffered from their policy on Gaza in in high Muslim population areas.

Leanne Mohamad, 23, was only 528 votes behind Streeting, who won the seat in Ilford North with 15,647 votes.

Mohamad resigned from the Labour Party last year following the newly elected Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s stance on the Israel-Gaza war.

Streeting commented: “It is very clear that Gaza has been a real issue for the Labour Party.”

However, he expressed his concern about the extent of fake news circulating during his campaign, including a highly “convincing” fake audio clip that spread “mistakes” about his stance on the conflict and his plans for the NHS.

He told reporters: “This is not the way to conduct politics, this is not the way elections should be fought.

He added: “We have got to look at how we maintain and defend the integrity of our elections.”

In his acceptance speech, Streeting said: “Tonight, for the first time in 27 years, and only the fourth time in Labour’s history, the country has chosen change by returning Labour from opposition to power with a thumping majority.”

Reflecting on his April 2021 diagnosis of kidney cancer, from which he has since fully recovered, he added: “The NHS saved my life, and now I will do everything in my power to save our NHS, and that work starts later today.”

Labour’s huge majority in Ilford South also took a significant hit from an independent candidate backing an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Labour MP Jas Athwal won the election from Noor Begum with 16,537 votes – a 25% decrease in the party’s vote share from five years ago.

Athwal stated: “We fought a very positive campaign and put our record in front, and the voters liked it.”

Discussing his focus as the new MP for Ilford South, Athwal added: “Having been the leader of the council for 10 years, I think council finance is a real issue.

“We have got to get in and see what the coffers are like in Westminster.”

Begum finished on 9,643 votes as the Conservative Party secured third place in both Ilford constituencies.

The Conservative candidate for Ilford North, Kaz Rizvi, received 9,619 votes, while Sayeed Syduzzaman in Ilford South claimed 6,142 votes.

Syduzzaman said he was not expecting these results but affirmed that the Conservatives will persist with their policies and return stronger than before.

Voter turnout in both Ilford North and Ilford South constituencies was noticeably down in this year’s General Election – below the national average.

The turnout to elect Streeting was 59.8%, almost 10% less than in the previous election, which saw 68.7% of the electorate vote.

Ilford South’s turnout was even lower, registering at 51%, more than 11% less than in 2019.

The constituencies of Ilford North and Ilford South underwent boundary changes in May as part of a broader review aimed at balancing constituency sizes.

The new boundaries for Ilford North combine 78.1% of its previous area and 20.8% from Ilford South, while Ilford South retains 79.0% of its former area, plus an additional 10.0% from Dagenham and Rainham.

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