A Tory councillor has prompted disgust for arguing his party should contest the seat left empty by the murder of Jo Cox.
Simon Cooke, leader of the Conservatives on Bradford Council, said there was “no justification” for giving a “free pass” to Labour in the Batley And Spen by-election.
Cooke further elaborated his position by saying the official stance of the Tories, Liberal Democrats and Ukip not to field a candidate out of respect to the murdered MP was “shared values nonsense” and an “attack on free speech”.
A fellow Tory also accused Labour of “dragging their feet” over the date of the by-election.
The comments were immediately seized upon as being insensitive with calls for Cooke to reconsider and remove the offending tweets, led by Labour MP Melanie Onn.
Jo Cox, who was 41 and had two young children, was shot and stabbed to death on 16 June.
Her killing shocked the nation and provoked an outpouring of bewilderment and soul-searching around the world.
The Labour party announced on Friday that former Coronation Street actress Tracy Brabin, a close friend of Jo, had been selected as their candidate for the by-election which will be held on 20 October.
She promised to be a “loud, proud and strong Yorkshire voice” in the role, which she is virtually guaranteed as all other major parties have vowed not to contest the seat out of respect for Cox.