Starmer under pressure to suspend new by-election candidate for tweeting ‘antisemitic’ t-shirt pic

Labour’s desperation ploy to salvage Batley and Spen by-election at risk of implosion just 4 days after selection

Keir Starmer is under pressure to suspend Labour’s new candidate for the Batley and Spen by-election, after pro-Israel groups took exception to a tweet by Kim Leadbeater.

Leadbeater, the sister of the constituency’s murdered former MP Jo Cox, tweeted about a visit to a local shop for an Indian Muslim Welfare Society fundraiser for Palestine – but was accused of posing with ‘antisemitic’ t-shirts portraying the erasure of Israel:

At the time of writing, the tweet – which triggered a ‘pile-on’ of hundreds of angry pro-Israel accounts attacking Starmer and the party as well as Leadbeater – had not been deleted.

Ms Leadbeater was selected despite only joining the party around a month before, with Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) waiving the usual strict rule that candidates must have been members for at least twelve months. Many accused the party of a cynical desperation move to try to stave off an anticipated by-election defeat that, after the loss of Hartlepool and a disastrous set of local and national elections earlier this month.

Now the ploy may implode, leaving Starmer with no credible ‘plan B’ to avoid another disastrous by-election, despite Starmer’s efforts to court pro-Israel groups.

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