A man has appeared in court charged with assaulting Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.
Anthony Rowbotham, 43, is accused of a religiously aggravated common assault of the town’s Labour MP.
The incident is alleged to have happened while Mr Wright was delivering Labour Party leaflets in Hartlepool before this year’s general election.
No plea was taken from Rowbotham during a short preliminary hearing at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.
Andrew Teate, defending, said: “Mr Rowbotham elected to have his trial at the crown court.
“He denies the assault on the MP.
“He admits discussing the health service and immigration, but denies the form of words which have been attributed to him.”
The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne Arton, ordered a plea hearing to take place on December 11, and set a provisional trial date of January 18.
Rowbotham, of Oakley Gardens, Hartlepool, was bailed on condition he does not contact Mr Wright or his family.