Express & Star

'Challenge accepted' - Independent candidate to stand against Marco Longhi in General Election

An anti-racism candidate has accepted Conservative MP Marco Longi's challenge to stand against him in Dudley North for the General Election.

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Independent Shakeela Bibi, who stood on a Pro-Palestine platform at the recent Dudley Council elections, went to Mr Longhi's office yesterday to launch her campaign.

Mr Longhi called the police last week when Ms Bibi and her supporters protested outside his Wolverhampton Street office.

Mr Longhi posted on Facebook: "If these people think that intimidating my staff and me will work, then they are wrong. Instead of calling me a racist and wanting me to prioritise so-called asylum-seekers over Dudley people then stand in the election against me and let local people decide."

Ms Bibi has responded by saying: “Marco Longhi put out a challenge which I have accepted loud and clear.

Shakeela Bibi outside Marco Longhi's office in Dudley

"Unlike him and the candidate Keir Starmer has parachuted in, I live and work in Dudley and with 16 years of voluntary and community work in our constituency, I have already proven myself.

"Tory and Labour want to make the election about divisive single issues and meaningless soundbites. I have a full programme of improvement for Dudley and if the people elect me as MP, I will represent Dudley in a new and revolutionary way.

"The people of Dudley will be central to my decisions, and I will be inviting them to have a real say in how we do things going forward. Let’s make July 4th Dudley Independence Day. Vote your independent candidate. Vote Shakeela Bibi. From the community, for the community ”

Campaign manager Tahmeena Akram said: “I have known Shakeela personally for many years. She has been courted by the big parties to stand for them in the past but always turned them down as it would have meant compromising her beliefs.

"She is standing as an independent, which is a perfect fit for her, and I think we will see many of the Dudley people she has volunteered to help over the years come out and support her.”

Election agent Gavin Moran added: “The general election in Dudley just changed completely. Until today it was a dull affair - Sunak’s candidate vs Starmer’s candidate. It’s now the people vs the establishment with Labour and Conservative representing the establishment and team Shakeela Bibi fighting for the people. Dudley now has a real choice and a chance to elect one of our own."

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