Falkirk Labour voters looking for answers over candidate choice

Traditional Labour voters in the Falkirk area were unhappy that they did not have a candidate to vote for in last week’s General Election.

Despite Safia Ali being listed on the ballot paper as the party’s nominee, she had been removed by Scottish Labour two weeks earlier.

However, as she had been put forward as the official candidate during the nomination period, her name still appeared on the ballot paper – and 6243 people voted for her.

Her removal from the candidacy followed reports of antisemitic posts on Facebook.

It is understood that Ms Ali had more than one social media account to be checked.

At the time of announcing her removal from the Labour candidates, Scottish Labour general secretary Michael Sharp said: “I deeply regret that the people of the Falkirk constituency will no longer have a Labour candidate to campaign and vote for on December 12.

“There is no place for antisemitism, or any form of racism and bigotry, in our Party.”

But on election day voters claimed they were getting mixed messages in the polling stations. Some said when they asked about Ms Ali appearing as the Labour candidate they were given details saying she had been suspended by Labour but was still a valid candidate. Also, if elected, she could sit as an independent Member of Parliament.

However, others said they were given no explanation when asking questions about the validity of Ms Ali being listed as the Labour candidate on the ballot paper.

In the 2017 local government elections, she had stood as an independent candidate in the Carse, Tryst and Kinnaird ward, polling 141 votes.

It is believed that shortly after she joined the Labour Party and actively campaigned for them.

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “All presiding officers were given information on the suspension of the Labour candidate in the recent general election to allow them to answer questions from voters.”

No-one from the Falkirk Constituency Labour Party was available to comment. Ms Ali could not be contacted.