By: Pooja Shrivastava
LABOUR activists were pelted with eggs and “kicked in the head” by a group of young men in Batley on Sunday (27), the region’s mayor said, while they were on a campaign trail for the upcoming by-election in the region.
Newly-elected West Yorkshire mayor Tracey Brabin claimed that she witnessed the attack on Labour activists while she was leafleting with colleagues, volunteers and campaigners in the Whitaker Street area of Batley on Sunday.
“The group I was with included young people and the elderly. I witnessed them being egged, pushed and forced to the ground and kicked in the head,” said Brabin, who was the Labour MP for the constituency before winning the metro mayor job in May.
The reported assault is now under investigation by West Yorkshire police.
Tension appears to be rising in Batley and Spen, where voters are set to poll on Thursday (1) to decide the fate of 16 candidates in the region, though this by-election is said to be more of a two-party battle between Labour and Conservative.
This is the second time in a week that Labour’s campaign trail in Batley has been disrupted. Before this, Labour’s by-election candidate Kim Leadbeater too was reportedly heckled and confronted by a group of protesters while on a campaign trail on Friday (25).
In a video uploaded on social media, a man, identified as Shakeel Afsar- a Birmingham activist who said to be against same-sex relationship and sex education in English schools- is seen shouting at Leadbeater, asking her what are her views were on LGBT education in schools as well as her stance on the situation in Kashmir.
“This is where I live, this is my community. Don’t come here and shout at me in the street. The Muslim community of Batley and Spen deserve better than this,” Leadbeater, the sister of MP Jo Cox who was murdered in the constituency in 2016, told the main heckler, as seen in the video.
Labour party president Keir Starmer, had condemned the incident as “disgraceful”. The incident was also criticised by politicians from across the aisle with senior Labour MP Jess Phillips sending her “solidarity” to Leadbeater and former Conservative chairwoman Baroness Warsi saying the incident was “awful”.