Labour poised to choose parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion

Posted On 19 Jul 2013 at 8:18 pm

The Labour Party is due to pick its parliamentary candidate for the Brighton Pavilion seat currently held by Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Two women have been shortlisted for the selection contest tomorrow (Saturday 20 July).

One of them, Anne Marie Waters, is an outspoken campaigner against Sharia law – the moral and religious code for Muslims, according to the Brighton and Hove Independent.

Ms Waters, described by opponents as a “secular fundamentalist”, is campaigning against Purna Sen, who hopes to become the first non-white MP to represent a Brighton and Hove seat.

Concerns have been raised about Ms Waters, who spent her childhood in Dublin and now lives in London, because of comments she made in a Channel Four broadcast about religion and immigration.

In the two-minute video she made for the channel’s 4thought.TV programme she said: “I don’t see that everyone has a right to live in Britain. I think it’s a privilege.”

She said that those who could not accept the rights and freedoms built here over centuries should either not come here or leave.

Purna Sen

Purna Sen

Ms Waters said in a statement to party members: “I will undermine UKIP by addressing the issues they address and I will do so in plain English and listen respectfully to people’s concerns, no matter how taboo.”

As a supporter of the anti-Sharia One Law for All campaign, Ms Waters argued that it was crucial for people to oppose religious fundamentalists who seek to oppress women in Britain and abroad.

The Brighton and Hove Independent said that Sunny Choudhury, general secretary of the Sussex Bangladeshi Association, had written to Brighton and Hove Labour Party to raise concerns about “irresponsible” comments by Ms Waters.

Mr Choudhury, a former civil servant who has lived in Brighton for 40 years, said that he and many members of the black minority ethnic community were “shocked” by Ms Waters’s comments in the Channel Four broadcast.

He warned: “Her extreme views will destroy our party’s relationship with minority ethnic communities.”

Ms Waters’s rival tomorrow is Purna Sen, a Brighton resident who was born in India and came to Britain when she was two.

She said: “Like many people in Brighton I am angry about the damage the Tory-led government is doing to this country and the way in which those in need are being portrayed as scroungers and undeserving.

“We are being made to pay for austerity through lost jobs, decreases in real income, demolition of the public sector, marginalisation of disabled people and demonisation of those who need state support.

“This is what the absence of economic growth feels like. This is what social division looks like.

“The only way to remove this coalition is by returning a Labour government in 2015.

“A Labour government will promote fairness, rights for all, job creation, investment in infrastructure and the building of a country where society, economy and politics are inclusive and not divisive.”

More than 1,400 party members are entitled to vote at the hustings tomorrow.

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