Bradford MP Naz Shah twice felt suicidal after 'despicable' election campaign

Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West. Photo: JPI Media
Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West. Photo: JPI Media
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A Yorkshire MP has claimed she was driven to consider suicide after a "despicable" campaign against her by woman now in her party.

The Guardian reported how leaked emails showed how Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, had become embroiled in a row over Salma Yacoob, a prospective Labour candidate for mayor in the West Midlands.

Ms Yacoob stood for the Respect party and in 2017 fought against Ms Shah but has since made a public apology.

However the leaked email seen by the Guardian saw Ms Shah accuse her now Labour colleague of misogyny, patriarchy and clan politics, and that she contemplated suicide during the campaign because of the exploitation of patriarchal politics, known as biradri, among the city's Kashmiri and Pakistani community.

She called the campaign "despicable".

She said: "This kind of clan politics, not underpinned by any political ideology but driven by men for the purpose of men to gain and retain power, has hindered the development of my city."

Ms Shah said she was pitted against Ms Yacoob as "who is the most Muslim" and was "hijab shamed".

She said: "This personal attack on my honour and everything I stood for [...] made me feel suicidal on two occasions during that campaign."

Ms Shah won the election and increased her majority by around 10,000 votes, but at the time she told The Yorkshire Post: "The level of misogyny I received in this election was incredible, I didn’t think there was anything that could have topped [George] Galloway.

“But here we are.

“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger."

Ms Shah had previously been challenged in the seat by Mr Galloway.

Labour sources told the Guardian the party had selected Ms Yacoob through the proper processed, while Ms Yacoob denied exploiting Ms Shah's background.

She said she has campaigned against the clan system and did not shame anyone.

She said: "I have always had an open door policy and have not shied from taking constructive criticism on board. I would like the opportunity for Naz to see the jounrey I have been on over the last couple of years, perhaps this is something I can only demonstrate through actions rather than words."