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Jo Cox: Murdered MP’s sister Kim Leadbeater aims to be Labour candidate in Batley and Spen by-election

Written by on 13 May 2021

The sister of murdered MP Jo Cox is hoping to stand for Labour at the upcoming Batley and Spen by-election.

Kim Leadbeater has announced her intention to be the party’s candidate for the West Yorkshire constituency – where Mrs Cox was MP before she was killed.

Speaking to the Batley and Birstall News, Ms Leadbeater revealed she had been left “moved” by the number of people who had been asking if she would stand.

Tributes are left in memory of Jo Cox MP on Parliament Square on June 17, 2016 in London, United Kingdom Image: Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right terrorist in 2016

“It has knocked me for six,” she said. “I would love to represent this extraordinary, vibrant place that I have called home all my life.

“I am touched that so many people seem to think I would do a good job and I can promise that if they want me, I will give my all for Batley and Spen at Westminster.”

Ms Leadbeater is a founder and ambassador of the Jo Cox Foundation, which was established following the murder of her sister by a far-right terrorist in 2016.

It seeks to build a positive legacy from the MP’s killing and, in the New Year’s honours list, Ms Leadbeater was awarded an MBE for her work fighting social isolation, including during the COVID-19 crisis.

Ms Leadbeater told her local newspaper she had “never really seen myself as a political animal” but added: “I care deeply about the area where I was born and have always lived, and where the people are second to none.”

She said her work over the last few years had allowed her to hear how people are “disillusioned and disengaged” with politics and “how worried they are about the future of our towns and villages”.

“I’ll be talking a lot to Labour members in the next little while – but mainly, once again, listening to what they have to say,” she said.

“And if they put their confidence in me to be their candidate, then I would be honoured to represent them and give the people of Batley and Spen the opportunity to put their trust in me.”

The Batley and Spen by-election has been prompted by the resignation of Tracey Brabin as the constituency’s MP following her election as West Yorkshire mayor.

Labour Party Candidate Brabin is seen at the count in murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox's Batley and Spen constituency in Cathedral House Image: Tracey Brabin quit as Batley and Spen MP after being elected West Yorkshire mayor

Ms Brabin was Mrs Cox’s successor as Batley and Spen MP.

At the 2019 general election, Ms Brabin held the seat by 3,500 votes from the Conservatives.

However, more than 6,000 votes went to a pro-Brexit independent candidate.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be hoping the Batley and Spen by-election could see a repeat of the Tories’ victory in last week’s Hartlepool by-election, as his party took a seat that had been under Labour’s control since it was created in the 1970s.

The result delivered another brick in Labour’s “red wall” of seats in its traditional heartlands to Mr Johnson.

Mrs Cox was fatally shot and stabbed by Thomas Mair in the street in Birstall in the run-up to the EU referendum in 2016.

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