Probe launched into Labor election punch-up in Small Heath

Labor leaders have pledged to get to the bottom of a brawl that broke out during a heated doorstep exchange in Small Heath at the weekend and have launched an investigation. The incident, described by party chiefs as ‘worrying’, occurred on Saturday while Labor campaigners were leafletting in Kenelm Road.

Violence broke out, with one resident punched and kicked. Labor activists and council candidates Mohammed Idrees and Saqib Khan were near the incident. A video captured of the ensuing melee was posted soon after on social media and widely circulated.

It has now emerged that, contrary to expectation, none of those involved or who witnessed the fight have made a complaint to the police. West Midlands Police said today they had not received a complaint, despite the obvious disorder on display.

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

We understand the gathering involved volunteers, including relatives of one candidate. Today we questioned Birmingham Labor and the regional Labor Party about the incident.

A spokesperson said: “This weekend a worrying video has come to light on social media appearing to show violent scenes in Small Heath. Birmingham Labor is taking this matter seriously and an investigation is under way into the events of the day.

Councilor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham’s Labor Group, has written to all of Labor’s candidates to remind them of their responsibilities as political candidates, and to ensure that candidates are doing everything they can to remain safe whilst out campaigning. The Labor Party absolutely condemns violence of any kind and calls on all those campaigning in the Birmingham local elections to do responsibly and peacefully. ”

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Speaking after the incident, Cllr Idrees told BirminghamLive: “I was canvassing when it broke out ten meters in front of us. A man was hurling abuse and inciting violence at Labor Party by knockers – he was bringing brothers and sisters into it.

“I was saying we need to move on; avoid getting involved. But then the punching started while others were trying to restrain him.”

Birmingham City Council elections are taking place next month. The footage of the incident, which you can see above, was captured from a nearby home.

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We have asked the Labor Party to address whether those involved in the fracas were members of the party, carrying out voluntary and canvassing duties or were in any other way connected to the candidates on the campaign trail. We have also asked what would be the outcome if those involved were directly linked to the candidates, or are Labor Party members.

So far they have not answered those questions, and say inquiries are ongoing to establish who was involved.

Birmingham Conservatives group leader Robert Alden said: “No doubt Labor will be taking serious steps if any of their party members are involved, or stood and watched the alleged assault in Small Heath.”

Des Jaddoo, leader of the We Matter Party, who is standing in Newtown, said the behavior was appalling but also not unexpected. “This is the level politics has plunged to in this city and sometimes frustrations spill over into abuse. But a violent response is never acceptable.”

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