WATCH: Labour’s Leadbeater Slammed by Ryan Stephenson for Claiming Grammar School Row “Has Been Resolved” When Teacher is Still in Hiding

Kim Leadbeater is trying to have it both ways over the Batley Grammar School row. Asked by the BBC whether she supports the accused teacher (who’s still currently in hiding for showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad to his students), Leadbeater said:

“I think what happened at Batley Grammar School has been resolved in terms of the inquiry that’s taken place… we’ve got to a solution now where it has been admitted that mistakes were made, I think that’s really important, and apologies have been made for any offence that was caused. I think it’s horrendous that a teacher has ended up in hiding, I have reached out to him via his union and offered to support him in any way I can…”

Although apparently that “support” doesn’t quite extend to suggesting the teacher returns to work:

“I think that has to be a decision for the teacher… I would imagine he’d probably appreciate having the time and the privacy to do that.”

Conservative candidate Ryan Stephenson immediately pushed back, saying:

“it is completely unacceptable the way the teacher has been dealt with, and the fact he’s had to be in hiding. But the job of an MP is to speak out when things aren’t right, and to challenge and speak up for their communities and we didn’t have that with our last Labour MP… there was no statement bringing the community back together or challenging the school.”

Leadbeater wouldn’t say she wanted the teacher back in school because she knows Galloway would hoover up her voters if she said that, many of whom don’t want him back in school. If Labour candidates won’t stand up for a liberal free society they deserve to lose. Polls close at 10pm tonight…

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Batley & Spen Runners & Riders

Now that the date for the Batley & Spen by-election is set for July 1, Guido’s taken a look at the runners and riders in the upcoming contest. There are five confirmed candidates, with local independent heavyweight Paul Halloran still yet to declare:

  • LabourKim Leadbeater – Sister of Jo Cox. Very limited political experience, having only joined the party a month ago, and only after Labour ignored their own rules to let her run. Initially seen within the party as the safest bet. There’s now a bit of a feeling on the ground that it’s a ‘cynical’ move on Labour’s part. 
  • ConservativesRyan Stephenson – Chairman of the West Yorkshire Conservatives, and Leeds councillor. First entered politics in 2016. Claims he’s “a fervent campaigner for the protection of the Green Belt and of the natural environment”. If elected, he’d be the first Tory candidate in the constituency for 25 years. 
  • LibDems: Jo Conchie – TV producer and director. Recent credits include “Bargain Brits on Benefits” and “Bargain-Loving Brits in Blackpool”. Clearly the LibDems think the people of Batley & Spen love electing TV stars…
  • Workers Party of Britain: George Galloway – A familiar face to co-conspirators. Claims he’s ‘standing against Sir Keir Starmer’, and that it’s ‘curtains‘ for Starmer if Labour lose the seat. Fears within Labour that he’ll capitalise on the Israel-Palestine conflict to siphon enough votes away from Leadbeater to tip the balance. There’s a high Muslim population in the constituency, so it’s not impossible.
  • Yorkshire Party: Corey Robinson – A local medical research engineer. Obviously not a significant player in the race, although the party did come third in the West Yorkshire Mayoral election. Managing to beat the Greens and the LibDems…
  • Reform / Reclaim (?): Paul Halloran – Still yet to declare. Stood in 2019 for the Heavy Woollen District Independents and took 12% of the vote. Could be the Tories’ kingmaker. Speculated to have had discussions with Tice and the Reform Party. Pictured yesterday with Laurence Fox, sparking rumours he’ll ultimately side with Reclaim…
  • UKIP think a working-class area deserves Jack Thomson “a young working-class man himself who understands the every-day struggles that real people face in their everyday lives.”

The bookies currently, surprisingly, make the Tories favourites to win

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