John Leathley ‘fears for safety’ of his family after receiving death threats
‘Most of the abuse I have received so far has been from the left’
Controversial UKIP Sedgefield parliamentary candidate John Leathley, who has previously made the news over his views on gay marriage and river safety, has revealed he has received death threats.
Leathley, who studies Education at Queen’s campus in Stockton-on-Tees, has been under fire this week after comments in which he says journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown “would love a big black thing up her a***” were leaked.
The threat was received on the 16th April in an email from “Hal481 Gaming” and told him to “Die in a fucking fire you racist little bit”.
The email from the anonymous source also included the comment “UKIP ARE FUCKING RACIST”. Leathley has hit out against this claim.
He told The Tab: “UKIP is not a racist party. We promote a system which is fair to everyone from anywhere in the world.
“Nigel said the obsession the media and certain parties have claiming this is getting boring.
“The electorate vastly agree with us that we are not racist and that I think is all I can say on that.”
A police investigation was launched into the matter after John Leathley sought advice from “more experienced” members of UKIP.
The comments were seen by the police as a threat but “they did not expect someone to literally attack” Leathley.
He explained how uncomfortable the comments made him feel, his primary concern the safety of his family: “That didn’t however make me believe that the world doesn’t have one lunatic in it who wouldn’t dream of harming myself or my family.
“I had an uneasy night wondering if I would be unlucky enough to have that one lunatic.”
The police were unable to find the culprit. With regards to who might wish to send him such comments, he was unable to name individuals as it “would be wrong and slanderous”.
Leathley elaborated, discussing which groups have provided the strongest opposition to his campaign. “Most of the abuse I have received so far has been from the left.
“I don’t understand why these people cannot debate on principle and reasoning rather than hurl abuse and threats.”
In recent weeks other UKIP candidates have also received similarily threatening messages and Leathley suggests the main reason for such responses is “because we are shaking up the political establishment”.
“Those who have power fear to lose it and we intend to return it to the electorate.
“Sometimes it is misconceptions caused by the media and rogue comments by members. Ultimately it is change that provoked it and moving from something you know well to something new can be scary to people.”
With just a day to go before the General Election, John Leathley has sought to reassure constituents that receiving death threats has not quashed his political ambitions: “Someone once said when you make enemies you must be saying the right things.
“I would never give up being a PPC for UKIP because I believe in democracy. If anything it drove me on to make a bigger difference.”