The fight for the Muslim vote is on. “Oona King deletes ‘Muslim’ in leaflets,” from the Evening Standard:
Labour’s Oona King was accused of double standards today after dropping references to Muslims in leaflets for predominantly white areas.
The two leaflets, both headed “Oona King – Working Hard for the East End” – point out her work as MP for Bethnal Green and Bow but in one of them all references to Muslims have been deleted.
The area is the centre of a bitter fight between Labour and George Galloway’s Respect party, which is opposed to the invasion of Iraq which Ms King backed.
Now she stands accused of playing down her work on issues of concern to Muslims in the leaflets her supporters are said to be delivering to mainly white areas.
The row follows accusations of hypocrisy against Woking Tory candidate Humfrey Malins over leaflets with different messages for white and Asian voters. He wrote in Urdu to Asian voters asking for support, citing his record on helping with immigration visas and visits, while in a leaflet delivered in predominantly white areas he promised to take a tough line on immigration.
Two of Ms King’s recent campaign leaflets contain key differences.
Under a panel contrasting her Commons voting record with that of her rival Mr Galloway, one of the leaflets states: “Oona voted to protect Muslims from hate crimes.”
But in the other leaflet it says: “Oona voted to make incitement to religious hatred a crime.”
The following section appears in the leaflet for Muslims: “Ken Livingstone added: ‘Working hard for local people has not stopped Oona getting the Government to increase funding to Bangladesh. And her brave stand against human rights abuses of Palestinians has made her a leading campaigner for Palestinian rights’.”
By contrast, in the other leaflet that passage has been replaced with: “Ken Livingstone added: ‘Oona has been a great supporter of my neighbourhood policing scheme and, thanks to her efforts, by July Tower Hamlets will be the first London borough to have police on the beat in every local community’.”
One leaflet has a section highlighting-Labour work for Muslim communities. This section has been left out of the other leaflet.
When it comes to the thorny issue of the war, the two leaflets also differ. In a personal message from Ms King, she sets out her reasons for backing the invasion of Iraq but in one leaflet, presumably aimed at shoring up support among Muslims, she refers to “Iraqi Muslims” throughout, while in the other she talks only of Iraqis.
While one leaflet states: “I had made that promise to Iraqi Muslims and I stuck to it”, the other says: “I had made that promise to