Labor ‘remove’ volunteers from Small Heath campaign after doorstep ‘assault’

Labor officials have told volunteers involved in an alleged violent incident in Small Heath they are no longer welcome on the campaign trail. But they have so far rejected calls to suspend the candidates that were being backed, or halt doorstep canvassing in the area.

It comes after a resident appeared to confront Labor canvassers while they were visiting homes and delivering election leaflets in Kenelm Road on Saturday, April 16. In the resulting scuffle, the man was kicked and punched several times.

Political leaders in Birmingham had been asking why the Labor Party had not acted against those involved. Cllr Robert Alden, leader of Birmingham Conservatives, and Jon Hunt, Liberal Democrats group leader, said they were surprised the party had not clearly displayed zero tolerance in the face of such blatant violence.

Cllr Hunt has gone further, urging Labor leader Keir Starmer to halt doorstep campaigning by his party locally until safeguarding can be assured.

Read more: Watch as dramatic brawl breaks out on campaign trail in Small Heath in latest election bust-up

Today a Labor source said the volunteers who were on the canvassing session have been removed from the campaign and will not be taking further part. Councilor Mohammed Idrees, hoping to be re-elected in Alum Rock, and candidate Saqib Khan, standing in Small Heath, were canvassing with a group of supporters when the trouble erupted. There is no suggestion either man was directly involved in the violence that followed.

The local leadership, including Cllr Ian Ward, have viewed the video and spoken to both candidates and accepted that Councillor Idrees tried to pull one protagonist away from the situation and that both candidates were not directly caught up in it.

Read more: Labor launches Birmingham local election manifesto

West Midlands Police say they are investigating an assault in Kenelm Road and anyone who has information is urged to contact Live Chat citing crime number 20/352040/22.

Cllr Hunt said he was appalled to see the incident unfold and has written to Keir Starmer, Labor leader, to press him to personally act.

“It is unacceptable behavior to react so violently. People who lead canvassing teams need to be accountable for the actions of them, that is what the public would expect. This was a disgraceful action.

“I have suggested Keir Starmer suspends his party campaigning in Birmingham until he is satisfied they can avoid a repeat. In any city, somebody facing allegations of violence would be suspended or removed from a workplace while an investigation took place. It is incredibly poor safeguarding and poor practice. “

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