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'Political deception of the worst kind': Labour mayoral candidate accused of copycat campaign video

By Peter Madeley | Politics | Published:

A prospective Labour mayoral candidate has been accused of plagiarism after she appeared to copy the words of a US Democrat in her campaign video.

Mayoral candidate Salma Yaqoob, left, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, right

Salma Yaqoob is Momentum's choice to take on Tory Andy Street in next May's elections for West Midlands Mayor.

But in a video launching her campaign, the hard-left activist's words appear to be lifted straight from a clip by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In her video, Ms Yaqoob says: "This race is about people versus money. We've got people, they've got money."

The extract is identical to a clip released by Ms Ocasio-Cortez in May 2018 when she was running for Congress in New York.

In another section of her video Ms Yaqoob substitutes the words 'West Midlands' and 'West Midlands Mayor' for 'New York' and 'Congress'.

In a further line lifted directly from Ms Ocasio-Cortez, she ends the clip by saying: "It's time for one of us."

A comparison of the two clips can be seen on a YouTube video originally shown on the Guido Fawkes website.

WATCH the video here:

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Labour Plagiarism

Eddie Hughes, the Conservative MP for Walsall North, described Ms Yaqoob's video as "blatant plagiarism" and "utterly embarrassing".

"This is representative of the type of candidates that Labour get under Jeremy Corbyn – people who don't have any new ideas but are determined to try and borrow others and pass them off as their own," he added.

"This is political deception of the worst kind."

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Ms Yaqoob's candidacy is already shrouded in controversy as she has stood against Labour in three general elections, most recently when Mr Corbyn was leader in 2017.

A Labour insider told the E&S she had made the shortlist at the eleventh hour as she was the only BAME and female candidate to come forward.

Meanwhile it has been claimed she has only been a party member for three months – less than the year required under Labour rules.

Ms Yaqoob is a founder of the Respect Party, which she quit in 2012, and a long time critic of Israel, having called for the UK to boycott the country economically and culturally.

The Express & Star has attempted to contact Ms Yaqoob for a comment.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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