Following the election of Tracy Brabin last week to the West Yorkshire mayoralty, a by-election is set to be held in the Red Wall constituency of Batley and Spen. The seat in question boasts a Labour majority of just 3,525 votes with local Tories licking their lips at the prospect of another Conservative gain in this 59.6 per cent Leave seat, following the Hartlepool result.
With this in mind, Mr S thought he would take a look at some of the names doing the rounds to be Labour’s next candidate. One guide produced by LabourList, the house website of the left intelligentsia, suggests Labour’s leadership is ‘keen’ on Councillor Salma Arif. The news site reports that the shortlist isset to ‘be drawn up in her favour’ with the party machine ‘already working in her favour’ according to sources.
If this is the case, Arif might want to delete some of her old Facebook posts. Seven months before being elected to Leeds City Council back in October 2016, Arif posted on Facebook a bizarre theory about Netanyahu’s views on the Holocaust, claiming ‘According to the Leader of Israel, it wasn’t Hitler who was responsible for the Holocaust, it was a muslim mufti, therefore absolving Hitler from his horrible crimes. Netanyahu is a mockery of a man’. She then liked a comment underneath which claimed ‘the Holocaust actually started way before Hitler met the mufti.’
Pandor appears to have been curiously silent on this issue, with a quick check of his Twitter timeline returning no results for ‘Batley Grammar.’ This could of course perhaps be due to the fact that Pandor’s brother – Imam Mohammed Amin Pandor, director of the Peace Institute – has been leading the protests in question. The latter Pandor has also criticised gay marriage, Strictly Come Dancing and shared a fatwa on Facebook and Twitter stating that ‘the uncertainty about the ingredients’ in Covid-19 vaccines meant they should not be promoted. He told protesters outside the school in March ‘What happened here, we are disgusted. What has happened is totally unacceptable and we have made sure they are aware.’
With figures from last week’s election results suggesting this by-election is neck and neck, the choice of candidate could be crucial in deciding whether Labour prevent another seat going blue.