The final fortnight of the Batley and Spen by-election has turned ugly up in West Yorkshire. Yesterday, the Mail on Sunday columnist Dan Hodges quoted an anonymous Labour official claiming that 'We're haemorrhaging votes among Muslim voters and the reason for that is what Keir has been doing on antisemitism... he challenged Corbyn on it and there's been a backlash among certain sections of the community.'
Predictably such an incendiary quote sparked fury among Labour MPs with the hunt now on for the possible culprit. But as tensions rise in the seat and polls show a narrow six point lead, one familiar face seems all too happy to cause as much controversy as possible. Step forward George Galloway, the man who is incidentally polling at six per cent in this seat and who was sacked from TalkRadio in 2019 after claiming Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League defeat meant there would be 'no Israel flags on the cup.'
— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) June 21, 2021
Undaunted, Galloway has brought in one of his old left-wing comrades to the seat. Step forward Chris Williamson, who himself was suspended from Labour back in February 2019 after claiming the party had 'been too apologetic' in its response to criticism of how it had handled antisemitism allegations. Galloway shared a picture of the former Derby North MP out on the campaign trial, prompting Hodges to tweet 'Not even pretending now.'
With just ten days to go until polling day, let's hope the campaign in Jo Cox's old seat does not descend any further after this.