From Tiger Patel to the ‘Gaza geezer’: Meet the candidates aiming to take seats off Labour by tapping into pro-Palestine support

Following May’s mayoral elections which saw dozens of pro-Palestinian campaigners elected as councillors and the Labour vote split in key areas due to Muslim protest votes, a new crop of parliamentary candidates are seeking to run for office on Gaza. 

Across the country, Labour MPs seeking re-election including Naz Shah and shadow frontbencher Wes Streeting, are facing tough battles from independent candidates campaigning almost entirely on foreign policy who already have huge support. 

The candidates include a Lamborghini driving defence solicitor, known as ‘the Gaza Geezer’ and an anti-LGBT activist who once staged mob protests outside primary schools that taught about same sex relations. 

It follows a trend which has seen The Muslim Vote piling significant pressure on Labour demanding that they cut military ties with Israel and allows followers of Islam to pray in school should be elected. 

The group, which has vowed to ‘punish’ MPs who it sees as not being supportive of Palestine by mobilising the four million Muslim voters in the UK, said it would only consider backing the Labour leader if Sir Keir caved in to their demands.

Sir Keir has said he is ‘determined’ to win back voters who deserted Labour at the local elections over his party’s stance on Gaza

Sir Keir has said he is ‘determined’ to win back voters who deserted Labour at the local elections over his party’s stance on Gaza, after dozens of pro-Palestine campaigners were elected as councillors in place of Labour candidates.

Many of those elected made the conflict in the Middle East part of their campaign, with some wearing rosettes in the colours of the Palestinian flag while others dedicated their victories to the people of Gaza, including one Green councillor who shouted ‘Allahu Akbar!’ after winning.

It has raised fears in some quarters that it is a sign of things to come, with regional votes being determined based on overseas conflicts and foreign policy, rather than local issues.

Below, MailOnline breaks down just a few of the candidates standing in the General Election on the topic of Palestine. 

Meet Akhmed Yakoob, the Lamborghini-driving lawyer fighting for Parliament

Meet Akhmed Yakoob, the Lamborghini-driving lawyer fighting for Parliament 

Akhmed Yakoob – Birmingham Ladywood 

Tik-Tok politician Akhmed Yakoob makes no secret of his stance on Gaza – he prints it on every one of his leaflets. 

The 36-year-old defence solicitor, known as ‘the Gaza geezer’, has 195,000 followers on the social media platform and is intent on bringing the fight to Labour incumbent Shabana Mahmood who has been Birmingham Ladywoods MP since 2010. 

In 2019, Mahmood was re-elected with 79.2% of the votes cast, so Yakoob’s task is a daunting one, however the indepent candidate is the darling of the local area and has performed impressively on a pro-Palestine ticket already this year. 

In Birmingham’s Mayoral Election, Yakoob won a staggering 70,000 votes as an independent eating into the voter base of eventual winner Labour’s Richard Parker who beat Conservative Andy Street by less than 2000 votes. 

The Lamborghini-driving lawyer has made central to his campaign opposition to Israel’s military crackdown following the terrorist attacks and hostage-taking by Hamas on October 7 last year.

Mr Yakoob has ‘For Gaza’ printed on his election leaflets and accuses Labour of not doing enough to condemn Israel’s actions and support calls for a ceasefire.

Defence solicitor Akhmed Yakoob, 36, is standing as an independent candidate for the Birmingham Ladywood constituency at the general election on July 4

Defence solicitor Akhmed Yakoob, 36, is standing as an independent candidate for the Birmingham Ladywood constituency at the general election on July 4

Mr Yakoob is a prolific uploader of videos to TikTok, where he has more than 195,000 followers

Mr Yakoob is a prolific uploader of videos to TikTok, where he has more than 195,000 followers

He has made opposition to the war in Gaza central to his campaigning, both in the recent West Midlands mayoral election and the battle for the general election seat

He has made opposition to the war in Gaza central to his campaigning, both in the recent West Midlands mayoral election and the battle for the general election seat

The independent candidate was at the centre of a controversy over a ‘deep-fake’ video which led to a viral hate campaign against an innocent teacher.

The video, taken on a doorbell camera, used subtitles to suggest the woman had used a racial slur while canvassing for Labour.

Evidence that the video had been manipulated was then said to have been uncovered by an external digital forensics company employed by Labour.

And West Midlands Police said officers had examined the original footage and concluded no offensive words were uttered.

Mr Yakoob had shared the footage to his TikTok followers, though later deleted his posts about the allegations amid a backlash.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has opened an investigation into him over the row and he has said he will not comment on it until the inquiry’s outcome.

Ms Mahmood has been Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood since 2010 and held the seat in 2019 with a majority of 28,582.

Yet Mr Yakoob remains bullish about his prospects of causing an upset when voters go to the polls again on July 4.

Mr Parker (centre) won for Labour, ahead of the Tories' Andy Street with Mr Yakoob third

Mr Parker (centre) won for Labour, ahead of the Tories’ Andy Street with Mr Yakoob third

Parliamentary candidate Muhammed Ali Islam, 20, is seeking to unseat Labour MP Naz Shah in Bradford West

Parliamentary candidate Muhammed Ali Islam, 20, is seeking to unseat Labour MP Naz Shah in Bradford West

In his announcement video the young councillor said: 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free'

In his announcement video the young councillor said: ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’

He told the Sunday Times, while in the front seat of a Mercedes: ‘Everybody was saying to me, “Labour machinery this, Labour machinery that”.

‘So what? I don’t really care about the machinery. Can they buy the love of people? No.

‘They can spend millions but they can’t take the love of the people for me out of their hearts. That’s what they can’t take.’

Muhammed Ali Islam – Bradford West 

Parliamentary candidate Muhammed Ali Islam, 20, is seeking to unseat Labour MP Naz Shah in Bradford West – and become the youngest MP in parliament in the process. 

Despite his young age, Muhammed has already been elected as a councillor by his community and is held in high esteem throughout the country, scooping a top award at the British Muslim Awards last year. 

In his announcement video the young councillor said: ‘Bradford West will become independent Inshallah, and let’s remember this: From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’ 

Strident anti-LGBT activist Shakeel Afsar is a controversial figure in the Birmingham ward of Hall Green and Moseley

Strident anti-LGBT activist Shakeel Afsar is a controversial figure in the Birmingham ward of Hall Green and Moseley

Shakeel Afsar – Hall Green and Moseley

Strident anti-LGBT activist Shakeel Afsar is a controversial figure in the Birmingham ward of Hall Green and Moseley where he hopes to unseat Tahir Ali. 

Prior to announcing he would stand for parliament, Afsar was best known for taking part in protests outside Parkfield and Anderton Park primary schools where amongst others he complained that children were exposed to LGBT topics ‘too soon.’

Despite Afsar’s campaign, he has long claimed he is not ‘homophobic’ arguing that the lessons would be a breach of the communities ‘religious values.’ 

Speaking on This Morning in 2019, he claimed LGBT issues ‘planted a seed in them and that ‘parents feel at primary school age we should be teaching the children about humanity and respecting humanity.’ 

Last year, Afsar made the news again when he led a group of Muslim activists into the screening of a controversial Bollywood film. 

The Kashmiri independence activist was filmed disrupting the screening of the The Kerala Story and demanding to speak to the cinema manager about the ‘Islamophobic’ nature of the film.

In the clip, Mr Afsar can be heard saying: ‘This film is lies. This film is made to divide us. We have lived together for many years… Narendra Modi [the prime minister of India] has endorsed this film. 

‘An extremist has endorsed this film. We will not allow it.’ 

Afsar later said that his actions in the cinema had been in defence of the Quran and that he had risked his life in the process. 

Ahead of the election, Afasr said: ‘We are coming for ALL the LABOUR Party seats they most comfortably sit in Inshallah.’ 

Barrister Ayoub Khan was formerly a Liberal Democrat councillor for Birmingham's Perry Parr ward

Barrister Ayoub Khan was formerly a Liberal Democrat councillor for Birmingham’s Perry Parr ward

Ayoub Khan – Perry Barr 

Barrister Ayoub Khan was formerly a Liberal Democrat councillor for Birmingham’s Perry Parr ward but has been operating as an independent since the May local elections after claiming he was ‘silenced on Gaza.’ 

In a rousing message announcing his independency, he wrote:  ‘Politicians are slaves to the public and NOT political parties. 

‘Money wasted in foreign wars would have been better used in our country where we have a crisis.’

Mr Khan hopes to unseat Khalid Mahmood who was represented Perry Barr under Labour since 2001. 

Popular Mr Mahmood is currently Sir Keir Starmer’s shadow minister for defence procurement and won politician of the year at the 2015 British Muslim Awards. 

Labour frontbencher Wes Streeting is facing a challenge from a pro-Palestinian candidate

Labour frontbencher Wes Streeting is facing a challenge from a pro-Palestinian candidate

Leanne Mohamad is an ally of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whom she has described as 'amazing' and a 'legend'

Leanne Mohamad is an ally of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whom she has described as ‘amazing’ and a ‘legend’

Leanne Mohamad – Ilford North  

Labour frontbencher Wes Streeting is facing a challenge from a pro-Palestinian candidate at the general election amid anger at the party’s stance on Gaza.

The shadow health secretary is set to battle with Leanne Mohamad to hold onto his Ilford North seat, in Greater London, when voters go to the polls. 

Ms Mohamad is a British Palestinian and a self-described ‘human rights activist’ who has spoken at recent protests in central London. 

She is an ally of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whom she has described as ‘amazing’ and a ‘legend’ and is campaigning as an independent in the seat. 

Mr Streeting was first elected as Ilford North MP at the 2015 general election, when he took the seat off a Tory incumbent.

He held the constituency at the 2017 and 2019 general elections – most recently with a 5,198-vote majority.

But Mr Streeting might be concerned that local anger at Labour’s stance on the Middle East crisis could see him lose support at this year’s general election.

Altaf Patel, who goes by the name of Tiger, is the prospective candidate for Blackburn

Altaf Patel, who goes by the name of Tiger, is the prospective candidate for Blackburn

Tiger is making a name for himself on the campaign with his garish billboard posters that see him posing with his arms crossed in front of a Palestinian flag

Tiger is making a name for himself on the campaign with his garish billboard posters that see him posing with his arms crossed in front of a Palestinian flag

Tiger Patel – Blackburn 

Altaf Patel, who goes by the name of Tiger, is the prospective candidate for Blackburn. 

Tiger, who was born in India, has been a councillor in Little Harwood & Whitebirk Ward and is now running on a Gaza manifesto, having previously failed to become an MP in 2004. 

Tiger’s manifesto makes plain what his priorities for the area are. 

He writes: ‘It is important that we prioritise Palestine in these upcoming general elections. We must vote for the MP who upholds international law, stands for justice and calls for an end to the genocide.

‘Your vote is important for the future of Palestine. We need an MP who doesn’t fail to represent our concerns.’ 

Tiger is making a name for himself on the campaign with his garish billboard posters that see him posing with his arms crossed in front of a Palestinian flag. 

In 2021, he ran as the Tory candidate for the Audley and Queen’s Park ward, and dubbed himself the ‘BoJo of Blackburn’. 

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