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Rayner and Streeting hit out at Tory “smearing” of Labour candidate – LabourList

Angela Rayner has criticised the “smearing” of Labour’s candidate in Rochford and Southend East, after Conservative councillor Daniel Nelson tweeted that it was “great to be with [Conservative candidate Gavin Haran] in the constituency talking to residents. Is the Labour candidate still in France?”.

The Labour candidate Bayo Alaba, a veteran of the parachute regiment, was taking part in D-day commemorations and raising money for charity in Normandy.

Wes Streeting also responded to Nelson’s tweet, saying: “Yes. The Labour candidate Bayo Alaba was in France today, parachuting into Normandy as part of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, to raise money for the Royal British Legion and Trust Links charities”.

The Shadow Health Secretary added that Nelson should be ashamed of his comments. Rayner similarly said “shame on you”, asserting that the party was proud of Alaba.

The Labour leader of Southend-on-Sea City council termed Nelson’s remarks “tasteless”.

The spat comes days after Rishi Sunak caused controversy by leaving D-Day commemorations early, leaving the Foreign Secretary to represent the UK at the international ceremony.

Sunak subsequently apologised, but his decision has been widely criticised. During the election debate on Friday evening, Penny Mordaunt termed it “very wrong”.

Alaba, a Redbridge councillor, will be looking to overturn a Tory majority of 12,286 votes in the forthcoming general election. The incumbent MP, James Dudderidge, who has held the seat since 2005, is not standing again.

Haran, who contested Lewisham Deptford for the Conservatives in 2019, works at the law firm Macfarlanes.

Alaba was selected to contest the seat in December 2023. In 2019, it was fought for Labour by Ashley Dalton, who in 2023 was elected as the Labour MP for West Lancashire.

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