A Bradford councillor has come under fire after insisting there was “no justification” for his party’s decision not to challenge Labour in the Batley and Spen by-election.
Simon Cooke, leader of Bradford’s Conservative group, took to Twitter to criticise the lack of challenge to Labour candidate Tracy Brabin after she was selected on Friday night.
Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats pledged not to stand candidates in the aftermath of the death of Batley and Spen Labour MP Jo Cox in June.
Coun Cooke wrote: “My Party should be contesting the Batley & Spen by-election. Absolutely no justification for giving Labour a free pass.
“And don’t give me all that ‘shared values’ nonsense either. If you’re a centre left charity lobbyist I probably don’t share your values.
“But then “values” never fed the starving, housed the homeless or cured the sick.
“And as for the ‘hate speech’ stuff. This is just a straight up attack on free speech. I definitely don’t share that value.”
Brabin selected as Labour candidate in Batley and Spen
His comments provoked a strong reaction and calls for him to retract his statements.
Responding on Twitter, Great Grimsby MP Melanie Onn wrote: “Our friend and colleague was assassinated withdraw these ill considered comments.”