Hornsey and Wood Green general election candidate rejects ‘anti-feminist’ criticism

The Women's Equality Party's candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green Nimco Ali has said accusations she

The Women's Equality Party's candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green Nimco Ali has said accusations she is anti-feminist are 'ridiculous'. Picture: WOMEN'S EQUALITY PARTY - Credit: Archant

An election candidate for the Women’s Equality Party has dismissed allegations she is anti-feminist as “ridiculous”.

Hornsey and Wood Green constituency candidate Nimco Ali said she received emails and messages on social media from Labour supporters urging her to stand down instead of trying to unseat a female MP.

“I’m not standing against Catherine West or any woman standing. I’m standing for equality,” she said.

“While there’s nobody speaking for the issues that matter in the mainstream parties it would be undemocratic of me to stand down.”

Commenting on her potential appeal to Labour voters, the former civil servant said: “Catherine West knows very little about Labour voters. I was a Labour voter.

“I’ve got the audacity of hope. She has the audacity of entitlement.”

In a statement a Haringey Labour Party spokeswoman said: “Our candidate is a strong campaigning feminist who has stood up for women on issues such as benefit cuts, Yarls Wood, refugees and much more.

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“At a time when women have been especially hard hit by Tory cuts, many local women have found it odd that the Women’s Equality Party, instead of standing against male Tory candidates, has chosen one of their seven candidates nationally to stand here in Hornsey and Wood Green.

“Neither Catherine nor the Labour Party, however, has suggested that she is not a feminist,” she added.

Somali-born Ms Ali – who lives in West London – moved to the UK when she was four years old and was forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) whilst on a family holiday to East Africa.

A campaigner for the past six years and co-founder of Daughters of Eve, a non-profit organisation aiming to protect women and girls at risk of FGM, Ms Ali worked with Prime Minister Theresa May on the issue when the Conservative Party leader was home secretary.

On Brexit, the 35-year-old said her party was committed to making sure leaving the EU doesn’t hit women disproportionately.

“We should not be leaving people behind,” she said. “Theresa May’s views on Brexit are quite astonishing.”

Besides measures to increase equality – including free childcare – Ms Ali identified healthcare and the need to tackle crime and Islamophobia as further priorities.

And on her party’s manifesto pledge to introduce free childcare, Ms Ali said it would pay for itself with an increase in the number of entrepreneurs entering the workforce.

Asked about her party’s appeal to male voters, she said: “Equality is better for all. Men are our brothers, fathers and sons.

“I don’t necessarily think this is only about women voting for us.

“It would be making history to have a former child refugee elected as the next MP for Hornsey and Wood Green,” she said.