Labour members urge party to drop candidate who shared Theresa May gun picture
Local Labour members have called on the party to drop a candidate who shared an image of Theresa May with a gun pointing at her head.
Jarrow Constituency Labour Party said it was "astonishing" that Kate Osborne had been imposed on them by senior officials.
Ms Osborne was forced to apologise for sharing the offending image on Facebook in the run-up to the 2017 election.
A special Labour selection panel unanimously agreed on Saturday that she will stand in Jarrow at the general election - despite a plea by female MPs for the party to think again.
In a letter to Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby, members of the Jarrow CLP and other branches insisted their protest "not about political views” and pointed out that Ms Osborne shared the image less than a year after the murder of Jo Cox.
“In an environment of increasing threats of violence against woman politicians of all political parties (including several signatories to this letter), it seems astonishing to us that someone who has posted such content is deemed suitable to be a parliamentary candidate for Labour,” they said.
“As we understand from the media Kate has apologised for the post.
“However sometimes an apology is not enough: in our view the judgement demonstrated by posting such an appalling and unacceptable image in first place should incompatible with Labour candidature.
“The endorsement of such a candidate sends a message that threats of violence against women in politics can sometimes be accepted.
“We urge you even at this late stage to reconsider your decision and remove Kate Osborne from being our candidate in Jarrow. We look forward to urgent assistance in this matter.”
Ms Osborne, who failed last week to be chosen as a candidate in Blyth Valley, is a member of Unite's executive council and is thought to have the support of those close to Jeremy Corbyn.
In response to the letter from Jarrow members, a Labour source said: “Unlike the other two male candidates in this race, Kate has lived in the area for 30 years.
“And, given the circumstances in which this seat became available, it’s right that Labour’s candidate is a woman.
“The panel’s decision was unanimous and the panel included CLP and regional representation, which has nothing to do with Unite.
“Kate worked for Royal Mail for 25 years, she’s a councillor, and a self-identifying LGBT+ woman and an active campaigner for LGBT+ rights.
"She deleted the parody image of Theresa May two years ago when concerns about it were first raised and has fully apologised."