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Anti-Racism Group Reveals MPs It’s Seeking to Boot Out – Including Lee Anderson and George Galloway

MPs who stoke “culture wars” face on-the-ground campaigns and targeted ads from Hope Not Hate

Ashfield MP Lee Anderson during the press conference where he announced his switch to Reform UK. Photo: Tejas Sandhu/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire

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A leading anti-racism group has unveiled some its target seats for the General Election – identifying MPs it thinks have crossed “red lines” on alleged racism who they will seek to boot from office. 

Byline Times can reveal that Hope Not Hate is focusing its efforts on several prominent figures – including Conservative right-winger Jonathan Gullis in Stoke-on-Trent North. Other targets include Reform UK’s Lee Anderson MP in Asfhield, and the Workers’ Party leader George Galloway MP in Rochdale. 

Ex-Conservative Anderson was stripped of the party whip after claiming that London mayor Sadiq Khan had “given our capital away” to Islamists. George Galloway, who won a by-election for his Workers’ Party amid outrage over the Gaza war at the end of February, is being targeted over his previous backing for dictators and work for Iranian state media. Jonathan Gullis has suggested housing refugees in tents and saying missing migrant children “shouldn’t have come here illegally”.

Georgie Laming, head of campaigns at Hope Not Hate, told this outlet that the group has undertaken a significant shift in its strategy due to the increasing “radicalisation” of parts of the Conservative Party. 

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The group says we are witnessing “the radicalization of the Conservative Party”, with some of their representatives “moving into a space Hope Not Hate would be addressing.”

That includes MPs like former UKIP member Mark Jenkinson, and no-deal backing Brexiteer Andrea Jenkyns,” Laming explains. 

Hope Not Hate is using “comprehensive” voter analysis, based on a mix of census data and a 25,000-respondent attitudinal poll to target parts of the UK the group believes are most vulnerable to, for example, xenophobic or prejudice-laden election campaigns. 

The group’s hyper-targeted campaigning involves on-the-ground efforts alongside extensive use of Facebook and Instagram ads.

Byline Times needs your help to investigate disinformation and electoral exclusion as we head towards the 2024 General Election.

We’re asking for your help to keep track of dodgy campaigning this election, so if you spot anything that bears investigation, please email us at votewatch24@bylinetimes.com.

In relatively deprived seats like Ashfield, Hope Not Hate is emphasizing the economic decline during Anderson’s tenure. 

“We’re highlighting how things have worsened economically in Ashfield over the past five years while Anderson has been linked to the Conservative Party,” Laming said.

She added that Lee Anderson and George Galloway have publicly criticised the group’s approach. 

“What’s fascinating is we are simply quoting their own words and actions back to them. We are informing voters that George Galloway has praised Putin or Lee Anderson has said there’s no need for foodbanks. It’s so clear we’ve gotten under their skin. It’s proof that Hope Not Hate and our 80,000 strong membership can have a real impact at election time,” she added. 

The group is also concerned about the potential resurgence of the far-right after a likely Labour win. “Historically, we’ve seen an increase in far-right activity when Labour comes into power…We could see more street movements in areas like the Black Country and South Yorkshire,” Laming warned.  

Tommy Robinson’s planned protest in London this Saturday is expected to be tense and possibly violent, with far-right elements and football hooligans converging during the UEFA Champions League Final. 

Undercover researchers embedded in far-right groups have reported threats of violence against journalists, including some at the BBC and Guardian, and even specific threats against public figures like Gary Lineker in social media groups. 

Laming told Byline Times: “Hope Not Hate has a proud history of opposing the far right for 20 years. We have campaigned against the British National Party, English Defence League, UKIP and countless other far-right and fascist groups. But we have also called out racism and hate when it has come from mainstream politicians and parties.

“While the traditional far-right presence at elections is a lot lower, the threat from a new populist right has grown. At the general election the biggest threat to anti-fascism will come from the growing ‘Radical Right’ within the Conservative Party. That’s why it’s essential we tackle their hateful rhetoric head on.”

MPs Lee Anderson, Jonathan Gullis and George Galloway have not yet responded to a request for comment. We will add in any response we receive. 

Byline Times is relaunching its VoteWatch project to monitor disinformation, dodgy campaigning, and dark money during the 2024 General Election. Get in touch if you have a tip off or any insights: votewatch24@bylinetimes.com

If you have another political story or tip-off, email josiah@bylinetimes.com.


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