Labour activist, 72, returns to campaign trail days after being attacked while leafleting

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
A labour leaflet in the door of a house in the Walpole ward of the Ealing Central and Acton constituency, the second closest marginal seat, on the morning of the 2017 UK general election. Photo date: Thursday, June 8, 2017. Photo credit should read: Richard Gray/EMPICS Entertainment
A file image of a Labour Party leaflet posted through a door. Labour activist Bob Thomson was attacked on Sunday after posting a leaflet - but returned to the campaign trail on Wednesday (PA)

A 72-year-old Labour activist was today back on the campaign trail days after he was assaulted while canvassing.

Bob Thomson said he would take a punch in the face every day if it meant Jeremy Corbyn getting into power.

Mr Thomson was “walloped” in the jaw while doorstepping in his home village of Hellaby, south Yorkshire, on Sunday.

He was forced to go to hospital with a suspected broken jaw. Though this wasn’t the case, he remains unable to chew food.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn holds a redacted copy of the Department for International Trade's UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group readout as he delivers a speech about the NHS, in Westminster, London.
Mr Thomson is a staunch Jeremy Corbyn supporter (PA)

Mr Thomson was back canvassing on Wednesday afternoon, telling Yahoo News UK: “I’m not used to being intimidated.”

The parish councillor said he was confronted by an angry Brexiteer after posting a leaflet.

He said: “Whatever I said, I was shouted down. After a couple of minutes, I realised I wasn’t going to get anywhere.

“I put my hands up and said I am wasting my bloody time. All of a sudden, I felt a blow to my chin.”

His Labour associates called the police. South Yorkshire Police said a 51-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and has been released on bail.

Before heading out canvassing on Wednesday, Mr Thomson, who has received more than 2,000 messages of support, insisted: “I’m not worried, not for myself.

“I’m a big lad, 6’4”, and I don’t get frightened.

“I’m 72 but I don’t look my age. I’ve still got my attitude.

“This afternoon I am back leafleting. And I would take one of them [a punch in the face] every day if it meant Labour getting into power!”

He said of the current political climate, in which a number of candidates have said they won’t campaign alone: “My wife is absolutely terrified. So are my daughters.

“I think it’s getting really nasty. This Brexit has done it. To me, people are being radicalised.”

Asked if he was surprised to have been assaulted, Mr Thomson said: “Obviously, at the time it did. I haven’t faced physical hostility before.”

South Yorkshire Police said in a statement: “We received a call at 4.06pm on Sunday, November 24. The caller reported that a 72-year-old man had been assaulted by a known man on Parkstone Crescent in Hellaby, Rotherham.

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“The 72-year-old man was taken to hospital with a suspected broken jaw.

“A 51-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. He has since been released on bail.”

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