Pro-Palestine independent to stand in Tottenham

A pro-Palestine candidate has been selected to stand against David Lammy in Tottenham reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

An independent candidate with Palestine as their core focus has been chosen to stand in Tottenham against MP David Lammy as protesters continue to place pressure on Haringey Council to end investment in Israel.

Nandita Lal was chosen following a public assembly last month (8th May) to stand as the ‘Independent Socialist for Palestine’ candidate in Tottenham in the forthcoming general election. 

She is endorsed by several local campaign groups including Haringey and Tottenham Palestine Action (HTPA) as well as the Haringey Independent Socialist Group. 

During a speech this month (2nd June) Nandita thanked her supporters and criticised Tottenham MP David Lammy. 

She said: “I am here to show David Lammy does not represent us. When asked by the BBC on 15th October whether he supported Israel’s order for 1.2 million civilians in north Gaza to be moved south, Lammy declared ‘it’s not a yes or no… I’m hoping one day to be foreign secretary and a chief diplomat, so it’s not a yes or no.’”

She highlighted his abstention on a ceasefire vote in November 2023, and failure to sign two early day motions: one in March on ending arms sales to Israel and the other in May calling on the government to support the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its recent actions, particularly its application for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Nandita added:“Lammy, who also consistently voted for the Iraq war, is not representative of Tottenham’s values. 

“Lammy has tweeted several times about Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ but never overtly criticised its mass bombings of Gaza that have killed nearly 40,000 Palesinains so far.”

In her manifesto, Nandita promised to fight for new social housing by repurposing vacant properties and rent controls, improve standards of living, support trade union action, make communities safer, treat the climate crisis as an emergency, end the hostile environment for migrants, and end public money and investments being spent in the arms & defence industry. 

Simultaneously pro-Palestine protesters have continued to put pressure on Haringey Council to divest its pension funds from firms supplying Israeli weapons. 

A group of approximately 60 protesters gathered outside Tottenham Town Hall to disrupt the council’s annual mayoral meeting last month (20th May) chanting outside the building’s entrance.

A representative for the group spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

They said: “I think if you look at the people who live in Haringey, the vast majority of people would want them [the council] to divest. I think if the members of the pension fund knew where their money was going, they’d also want them to divest.”

They added not considering this a local issue was “fundamentally an incorrect statement” adding concern this viewpoint absolved councillors “of their responsibility as our representatives”. 

“It’s not an issue that’s that far away when their [local] funds are enabling a genocide. 

“Especially given the fact there is a genocide now, they have a legal duty to act, to divest, also they have a moral duty, and also historically councils have acted on global issues. We live in an interconnected world, the events that happen here, influence things that happen in Palestine.”

In response a council spokesperson said: “As a responsible investor, our fund encourages companies to take positive action on social, environmental and governance issues, requiring all appointed investment managers to comply with the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (UNPRI).  

“As it stands, the fund has minimal indirect exposure to some of these businesses through its pooled investments.

“A review of the fund’s investment strategy is already underway which will carefully consider all aspects of its portfolio, as well as ensuring the fund gets the best value for its members.”

Lammy was approached for comment but has not responded.

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