ELECTION: Portsmouth’s Labour candidate reflects on an emotional effort

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HEARING the hardships faced by a homeless ex-soldier brought Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth North to tears.

Rumal Khan has reflected on his gruelling six-week election campaign, revealing the most poignant moment of the political tussle.

It comes as votes from across the city are being tallied up by an army of volunteers inside Portsmouth’s Guildhall,

Mr Khan said: ‘I was in Cosham campaigning and this homeless man came up to me.

‘At first he was abusive towards me. Then he began to tell me how he had been in the army for 22 years and was now a beggar.

‘He asked me ‘why’. I almost burst out crying. I couldn’t believe it. It was the most poignant moment of my campaign.’

The 56-year-old election candidate admitted that ‘nobody knew him’ when he was revealed as Labour’s representative for Portsmouth North in April.

‘That did not bother me,’ he added. ‘I was completely focused on serving the people of Portmouth.’

Mr Khan said he was ‘excited’ about the prospect of leading Portsmouth North – if he is elected – but said he wished he had had more time for his campaign.

‘Time is an elusive creature,’ he said. ‘I would have loved to have had another three months.’

Since the election began, it has been marred by the two terror attacks in Manchester and London.

Mr Khan said he was appalled by both of the atrocities and called for unity of communities after the election.

His words come just days after Paulsgrove Ukip councillor Stuart Potter caused controversy with his comments on Islam.

Reacting to the statements, Mr Khan said: ‘The statement was very risky and dangerous. I can’t understand how a councillor can say such a thing.’

Speaking of the terror attacks, he added: ‘Anyone who does a criminal act has nothing to do with religion.

‘Unfortunately everyone from the Muslim community is tarred with it.

‘I grew up in Britain when I was seven, I am as British as the come. So it angers me that people can act like this.’

The results for Portsmouth North are expected to be revealed at about 6am tomorrow.