Former Labour Covid jab row councillor to stand as independent

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Facebook postImage source, Jamila Azad
Image caption,
The post showed Jamila Azad and another woman receiving injections from a man in medical scrubs and PPE

A former Labour councillor will stand as an independent after the party investigated her over a Facebook post claiming she received a Covid vaccine from a "private care doctor".

The remark by Jamila Azad, an elected member for both Oxford city and county councils, led to claims she may have illegally received a vaccine privately.

The NHS, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and police have cleared her of wrongdoing.

Local elections will be held on 6 May.

Ms Azad had the Labour party's whip removed after she wrote and later deleted the post, which said she had seen a "private care doctor" for the jab and referred to a "long NHS waiting list".

Image source, Oxford City Council
Image caption,
A complaint about Ms Azad's Facebook post has been made to Oxford City Council

However, the councillor said she had used the "wrong wording" and the injection was administered legally at an NHS clinic in Birmingham.

She then resigned from Labour and said she was disappointed by how she was treated during the investigation, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

Ms Azad said she would be standing as an independent candidate in her county council ward of St Clements and Cowley Marsh, but would not contest her city council seat.

In a letter to her ward's residents, Ms Azad said she had been through a "turbulent" time as a result of the Facebook post and wanted to "sincerely apologise".

A spokeswoman for the MHRA said it had been "unable to identify any offences under medicines legislation".

West Midlands Police said "no breaches occurred" and the NHS added that there was "no evidence or suggestion" the vaccine was provided in exchange for money.

A complaint that Ms Azad broke Oxford City Council's code of conduct is continuing to be assessed by the local authority.

Lists of candidates standing in the local elections will be available after the close of nominations on 8 April.

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