Five senior Labour Party figures have been criticised after speaking at an event where women were apparently banned from sitting with men.
Tom Watson, Liam Byrne, Khalid Mahmood and Jack Dromey, all defending seats in the House of Commons, attended the rally in Birmingham with MEP Sion Simon.
The meeting took place in Hodge Hill, an area of the city with a high Muslim population. Pictures posted on Twitter by Sion Simon showed Muslim women seated in a cluster apart from the men.
Last weekend before the election? Must be Hodge Hill rally time pic.twitter.com/q5P17oaGXL
— Siôn Simon (@sionsimon) May 2, 2015
The tweet soon received a barrage of criticism from angry users:
Seriously, @sionsimon, would you be prepared to speak at a rally where the audience were segregated by race? Or sexual orientation?
— KateMaltby (@KateMaltby) May 2, 2015
— MizzVegOns (@MizzVegOns) May 3, 2015
— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) May 3, 2015
Wow. Labour segregating the audience at a talk in Liam Byrne’s Hodge Hill this morning. Shameless last minute push for the misogynist vote?
— Sam Pither (@sampither) May 2, 2015
— Kate Weir (@KateWeirTweets) May 2, 2015
However, Labour candidate Khalid Mahmood remained defiant over his appearance at the event. When asked by the Sunday Express, he admitted he attended and said: “And?” When asked about the segregated audience, he added: “I didn’t organise it. You’ll have to speak to the organisers.”