Speaking to indy100, a spokesperson from the Liberal Democrats said they reported the leaflet, which was produced and disseminated during Fransen’s failed bid in the recent Batley and Spen by-election directly, due to it containing references to “hanging” criminals.
The Batley and Spen by-election took place on 1 July after Labour’s Tracy Brabin was elected as West Yorkshire mayor and left the seat vacant. In what was a tightly contested race, Labour’s Kim Leadbeater narrowly beat Conservative challenger Ryan Stephenson to become the consitutency’s next MP. The role was previously also held by Leadbeater’s sister, Jo Cox, who was murdered in 2016 by a member of the far-right, making the victory all the more poignant.
But it appeared the constituency had not rid itself completely of far-right influence as a total of five candidates linked to the movement stood for election, including Anne Marie Waters and Fransen - though they all received no more than a handful of votes (Fransen got just 50 and polled lower than the Monster Raving Loony Party).
Fransen’s leaflet, which indy100 has also seen, said that if elected Fransen would have worked to “hang grooming gangs” to “deport illegal invaders” and to “kick LGBT out of schools”.
It also called to “keep Batley British” and encouraged supporters to “join the resistance”.
The Liberal Democrats said they reported it to local Kirklees council, who then passed it on to West Yorkshire Police. A spokesperson from Kirkless council confirmed this. Meanwhile, in an email sent to her supporters and seen by indy100, Fransen also she had been contacted by the police regarding the incident. She claimed the police had asked her to meet them and called on her supporters to help her cover the cost of legal support should she need it.
Speaking about the leaflet, Batley and Spen candidate Tom Gordon said:
“The campaign in Batley and Spen was bitter divisive and at times the very worst of British politics.
“The literature produced by candidates on the political extremes was abhorrent and has no place in our democracy. Thankfully they couldn’t even manage to get 100 votes at the ballot box and rightly so.
“As a gay man, & proud member of the LGBT+ community, I find it truly depressing seeing people trying to make an issue out of people’s sexuality in an election in 2021.”
Indy100 has contacted West Yorkshire Police to comment on this story.