Snooker legend Ronnie O'Sullivan backs independent candidate Faiza Shaheen in General Election

World snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has announced he's backing independent candidate Faiza Shaheen at the General Election.

Mr O'Sullivan, who backed former Labour under Ed Miliband in 2015 and Jeremy Corbyn in 2017, said it was a "no brainer" when Ms Shaheen decided to run.

It comes just weeks after the left-winger was in a "state of shock" after being blocked from running as Labour's candidate on July 4. But she is now fighting against Labour as an independent - attempting to oust the ex-Tory leader Iain Ducan Smith in Chingford and Wood Green.

In a video alongside Ms Shaheen, the snooker legend said he was "definitely" voting for the candidate who is a "massive part of the community". He added: "I just think someone without passion, you know, dictating what goes on around this area isn't going to be good for the locals." Mr O'Sullivan, 48, said: “I love this area, it’s my home and it’s a really special place for me.

snooker legend ronnie o'sullivan backs independent candidate faiza shaheen in general election

Faiza Shaheen is standing as an independent candidate after being de-selected by Labour

"I think it’s really important we have a local person as our MP, someone who knows this community, someone who has roots here and wants the best for us. And I think Faiza is that person. I know life isn’t great for everyone. People are struggling and they think that a lot of politicians don’t understand how tough life is for them."

He added: “Faiza has bundles of passion. She is well respected here, people know her, they see her in the café or in the supermarket. She’s one of us. When I heard she was standing, I got in touch to give her my support. To me, it’s a no-brainer. I’ll be voting for Faiza and, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be helping to encourage people to get behind her too.”

The seven-time World Snooker Champion posted on X in 2017 he had joined the Labour Party to support Mr Corbyn "to be the next Prime Minister". Ahead of the 2015 General Election, he backed ex-leader Ed Miliband and even played snooker with him on the campaign trail.

Ms Shaheen last ran for Labour at the 2019 General Election - but was narrowly defeated by Mr Ducan Smith by 1,262 votes. She resigned from the party earlier this month and announced she was standing as an independent after a row erupted over Labour's decision to deselect her.

She had hoped to contest the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency as a Labour candidate but the party blocked her from standing after allegedly liking a social media post downplaying anti-Semitism accusations. The Labour Muslim Network said at the time that the treatment of Ms Shaheen was "unacceptable".

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