An independent candidate in Slough has said people ‘don’t have faith in the Labour Party’ after he came second – taking a big chunk out of Labour’s majority.

Independent Network-backed Azhar Chohan won 11,019 votes, coming second to Labour candidate Tan Dhesi – in the closest result in years.

Mr Chohan told the Observer: “It’s a very strong result and a massive achievement for somebody who’s started their campaign literally about seven weeks ago.

“The people of Slough have given their voice through the ballot papers. They don’t have faith in the Labour Party and the Labour Party now will need to stick to their promises and deliver the services they say they’re going to deliver.

He added: “We’re going to hold them to account on that for our residents, for our citizens here.”

Mr Chohan won 3,647 fewer votes than the winning Labour candidate Tan Dhesi. But he took a big chunk out of Mr Dhesi’s majority in what has long been considered a safe seat for Labour.

Mr Dhesi won 29,421 votes in 2019 – 13,640 more than his closest rival the Conservative candidate. It means his majority has fallen by some 10,000 votes.

Mr Chohan said the result showed people in Slough felt ‘betrayed’ by Labour. The party lost control of Slough Borough Council last year, having been in charge when it declared bankruptcy in 2021.

Mr Chohan said: “There are so many things that they feel very bitter about, very hurt, betrayed. Labour’s been making these promises and not delivered.

“Most of the problems we have here in Slough were due to the local Labour administration, also nationally. Now they’re in power let’s see what they’re going to achieve and deliver for our people. They’ve got to deliver what they’ve promised.”

Mr Chohan and his supporters have said that they hope to build on their result in future elections. One campaigner Talha Haroun told the Observer the campaign was ‘part one of a ten-part blockbuster.’

He said: “In four or five years time we’ll look back on this as a watershed moment – as a moment that triggered this move towards independent representation away from the mainstream parties.”

And Mr Chohan hinted that he would continue campaigning even after the election. He said: “Watch this space. We’ve got something in the pipeline – we’re not going to go away.

“We’re going to make sure that the people who have voted for us, who’ve stood up, that their voices are heard, that they’re not ignored – that we go forward and lobby for them.”