Labour has chosen a Londoner to run against George Galloway as the party attempts to regain the outspoken Scot’s Bradford West seat in this year’s general election.
British-Somali Amina Ali was chosen from an all-woman shortlist of three in a move which will annoy some party members who wanted to see a local candidate.
But Labour said Ali, who is a councillor in Tower Hamlets, was the “overwhelming choice” of members at a hustings held at the Bradford Hotel.
If elected she will be the first ever MP of Somali heritage, a spokesman said.
He said Ali worked as a researcher and journalist for the BBC before embarking on her current career as a legal adviser.
Galloway won Bradford West in a byelection for his Respect party in 2012 when a huge swing from Labour gave him a majority of more than 10,000.
Ali said: “I’m delighted to have been given the backing of Bradford West members and will give this campaign everything I have.
“People in Bradford West want change – they have been badly let down by a Tory-led government hitting Bradford disproportionately hard and an absentee MP in George Galloway.
“He promised the earth in 2012 and, as the byelection result showed, people put their faith in him, but none of what he promised has materialised.
“He has failed to work hard for local people and even admitted he prefers election campaigns to actually doing the job of representing the people of Bradford West.
“If Bradford West people elect me they will get an MP who will work tirelessly for them, and only for them.
“I will be a strong voice in Westminster, and I will be visible and active back here in Bradford too.”
Galloway tweeted on Saturday: “In the light of today’s bizarre decision, I call on Bradford Labour members to join us either publicly or privately. We are the real Labour.”