George Galloway launches 'urgent legal challenge' against Kirklees Council over election posters

George Galloway has launched “an urgent legal challenge” against Kirklees Council after falling foul of election campaign rules.

George Galloway
George Galloway

Mr Galloway, the Workers Party candidate in tomorrow’s by-election in Batley & Spen (Jul 1), says council staff have been seen removing his posters across the constituency.

He has described it as a “blatant attempt to interfere in this election”.

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The council investigated following a complaint.

It then acted after warning the Galloway camp that its posters breached guidelines after the “imprint” – the information detailing who is printing the material, the promoter and the candidate – was found to be 50 per cent too small.

The Galloway camp said it has put up around 2,600 posters around Batley & Spen, and slammed the imprint rule as “a bogus imposition”.

And it excoriated for the council for removing and refusing to return the placards, describing it as an “unprecedented move, which began some 72 hours before polls open.”

In fact Mr Galloway’s campaign manager, James Giles, was told on June 23 that the party’s poster font size was too small – it was a font size of approximately six instead of 12, making it “well below the required size” – and that it was in contravention of the policy for imprints.

The council asked the Workers Party to remove all election boards with the incorrect font within 24 hours adding, “If they are not removed in this time, officers will be tasked to remove any remaining posters/boards with the incorrect imprint font sizes.”

They said: “We presume you would want to be made aware so that these can be removed as soon as possible.”

Kirklees and Wakefield are the only councils in West Yorkshire that allow election candidates to put up posters.

Policy says posters are allowed:

- Within the constituency or ward boundary

- On lamp posts that do not carry warning, regulatory or information signs

- The imprint must be a minimum of font size 12

- Posters should not be within 1m of a polling station

- Posters should be at least 2m above the ground

- They should be removed within seven days of the election

Mr Giles said: “We have instructed XYZ Law to issue an urgent legal case against Kirklees Council and have also made reports to both West Yorkshire Police and the Electoral Commission.”

A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “Kirklees Council does allow candidates to place posters on council street furniture during the election campaign period.

“However, if the candidate chooses to use council street furniture, the materials need to meet certain requirements. One of the conditions in Kirklees is that all imprints on these election materials have to have a font size of at least 12.

“Imprints on posters and leaflets are really important for making sure the source of election materials is clear and transparent for local voters. In this case, the council received a complaint about some of the posters. We investigated the issue and found they did not met the standards required.

“We then asked, several times, for the campaign to correct the problem and when that did not happen, council officers removed the posters. These rules are set out in our election campaign policy which all candidates received as part of their nomination pack.”