• Friday, December 09, 2022

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Labour must “apologise” for using controversial leaflet featuring Johnson and Modi: Shami Chakrabarti

(Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

By: Pooja Shrivastava

LABOUR peer Shami Chakrabarti has criticised the party for using a leaflet, featuring British prime minister Boris Johnson shaking hands with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during the Batley and Spen by-election campaign, saying it was a mistake for which “the party must apologise”.

 

Claiming that she holds “no brief for the rightwing Hindu nationalist whose catastrophic pandemic mismanagement, misogyny and Islamophobia I find indefensible”, Chakrabarti questioned the photo and caption in the leaflet which features the photograph of Modi and Johnson shaking hands along with the caption that said don’t risk a Tory MP “who is not on your side.”

Labour’s leaflet featuring Boris Johnson shaking hands with Indian premier Narendra Modi was a mistake for which the party must apologise.

In a column in The Guardian, Chakrabarti wrote: “What was this photo and its caption, “the risk of voting for anyone but Labour is clear”, supposed to indicate? That a Labour prime minister or foreign secretary would never shake such a hand or attempt to negotiate trade, or peace, or a shamefully belated vaccine patent waiver with one of the largest nations in the global south?”

Slamming the Labour party’s tactic to attract some 8,600 Muslim voters, mostly of Pakistani origin, using the leaflet, Chakrabarti said the party’s choice of photo and the caption suggest that it assumed people vote solely on communal lines.

“There is no point in proclaiming zero tolerance for antisemitism and all forms of racism among party members if Labour undermines attempts at trying to explain the nuances of modern racism and stereotyping come election time,” former director of Liberty wrote in the column.

In the by-election held last week, Labour party candidate Kim Leadbeater won the seat by a narrow margin, thus hanging on to a parliamentary seat that if lost, would have heaped pressure on Labour party leader Keir Starmer to stand down.

“Let the Battle for Batley of 2021 be remembered as a nadir in national discourse from which we learned and recovered, if only in the Labour party,” the 52-year-old said.

Chakrabarti also lambasted George Galloway over his “toxic” campaign during which he stoked “homophobic sentiment” when  he  described himself as a “straight white man with six children” who would not stand “for BBC trying to teach our young children that there are 99 genders”.

 

 

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