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Far-right group ‘distributed fake Labor and Tory leaflets to influence by-elections’

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A far-right group has lampooned fake Labor and Conservative party leaflets to mislead voters during two general elections, according to a new documentary.

The Patriotic Alternative (PA) tried to use propaganda to persuade voters not to vote for either the Labor Party or the Conservatives, the film claims.

The group distributed thousands of fake leaflets claiming to be Labor and published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), according to the Dispatches programme, to be aired on Channel 4.

The leaflets were distributed ahead of the Batley and Spen 2021 by-election, the constituency of Labor MP Jo Cox, who was murdered by far-right Thomas Mair outside her operations office.

The leaflets show Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer taking the knee – a gesture used to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement – and say the party “believes the biggest threat to our precious multicultural society is white”.

Dispatches journalists said the aim of dissuading people in the constituency’s “heavily white, working-class neighborhoods” from voting Labor was revealed in two emails from Sam Melia, one of the PA’s leading figures.

Fake worksheets reportedly made by neo-Nazi group Patriotic Alternative

(messages/channel 4)

The documentarians say Mr Melia said in one of the emails that PA founder Mark Collett had “actually designed some fake Labor leaflets about how they get on their knees for BLM… At least we can say that we shaved white votes from Labour…”.

A TUC spokesman said: “TUC has nothing to do with this leaflet and condemns these dirty tricks. Whoever is responsible for this divisive leaflet does not deserve the votes of working people and should be ashamed.”

The PA also distributed around 15,000 fake Conservative Party leaflets during the 2022 by-election in Southend West – the constituency of murdered MP Sir David Amess – the Dispatches film claims.

The leaflets, said to be from the Conservatives, claimed that the Tories were “proud” of having “quickly brought 25,000 Afghan ‘refugees’ to Britain”.

At the bottom of the leaflet is a postcode in Pudsey in the Leeds area of ​​West Yorkshire, which corresponds to the neo-Nazi group’s registered address. The fake Labor leaflet had TUC’s real central London postcode printed at the bottom.

Fake Conservative Party leaflet produced and distributed by the PA group

(messages/channel 4)

Hope Not Hate CEO Nick Lowles has called for prosecution if the group is found to have broken the law.

He said: “It is totally illegal to distribute a leaflet on behalf of another organization during an election and it falls to the authorities to really investigate and prosecute where there is evidence.”

In response to the claims in the film, PA said the filmmakers Hardcash Productions declined their interview offer after the group refused to send them written comment.

PA founder Mark Collett wrote in a statement later published on the group’s website: “Hardcash Productions has a long history of producing highly biased and politicized hatchets promoting an anti-Brexit, anti-white, anti-British and Pro-mass immigration agenda.”

The Electoral Commission has rejected the PA’s applications to register as a political party. Since launching PA in 2019, she has started groups across the UK – and claims up to 240 people join every month.

The Dispatches documentation The Enemy Within: Inside Britain’s Far Right airs tonight (9 May) at 9.30pm on Channel 4.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/patriotic-alternative-leaflets-labour-conservative-b2074197.html Far-right group ‘distributed fake Labor and Tory leaflets to influence by-elections’

Bobby Allyn

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