Labour block Windrush candidate in Streatham

Windrush generation community activist Maxine James has been kept off the shortlist of candidates for Streatham in London.

A Windrush generation community activist has been kept off the Labour Party’s shortlist for the vacant London seat of Streatham, denying her the chance to become Britain’s only Windrush MP. 

Maxine James, who is the constituency’s BAME officer, was said to have crossover appeal from both wings of the party and deep roots in the constituency. She tweeted that she had been questioned in her interview about her use of the term ‘Snowy White Peaks’, referring to situations where white people disproportionately hold senior positions within organisations.

The far-left won control of Streatham CLP earlier this year, electing almost entirely white officers in one of the most ethnically diverse constituencies in the country. One of the few BAME executve members quit after a motion opposing Brexit was filibustered. Since then, they have cancelled the tradition during Black History Month of handing power over to the party’s BAME forum.

Instead of James, the shortlist of just three includes Westminster staffer, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, and local councillors Marcia Cameron and Jennifer Brathwaite. Ribeiro-Addy works in Parliament as an advisor to Diane Abbott, and previously ran The Diane Abbott Foundation. The organisation attracted criticism in 2016, when it spent £29,000, the vast majority of the total funds it raised that year, on an awards ceremony. Expenses included “artist performance fees” and £2,000 on prizes. Abbott’s office issued a statement to the Hackney Citizen afterwards, denying it was “a party”.

Ribeiro-Addy took part in the Viva Palestina convoys to Gaza in 2009, the charity fronted by George Galloway. The organisation was taken over by the charity commission over concerns about its financial management. The regulator has now found that, despite its claim to have raised £1 million in donations, it may have delivered no aid to Palestinians. Galloway’s Respect Party also backed Ribeiro-Addy when she ran for an officer role in the National Union of Students.

During her role running campaigns for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), John Lewis accused the group of falsely claiming the department store supported the BDS campaign. A spokesperson said, “the person who wrote the PSC’s press release put the two elements together to create a false and misleading quote”.

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