Batley & Spen: Labour candidate says election is about local area not party leader

Kim Leadbeater has been campaigning with Keir Starmer in Batley today. Credit: PA

Labour's candidate in the upcoming by-election in Batley and Spen said the poll was about the people in the area and not a referendum on party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Kim Leadbeater was speaking after welcoming Sir Keir to the constituency on Thursday as bookies backed the Tories to take the lead in the forthcoming poll.

Ms Leadbeater said: "I think it's really important the Labour leader comes to Batley and Spen.

"I've chosen to stand as a Labour candidate but I'm under no illusion that the Labour Party has got some work to do.

"I don't think he's under any illusion about that either. But I think it's really important that he comes, he meets the people of Batley and Spen, listens to what they've got to say."

Credit: PA

The July 1 poll is being seen as a crucial test for Sir Keir after Labour's defeat in Hartlepool last month.

But asked if the election was a referendum on the party leader, Ms Leadbeater

said: "No, I absolutely don't see it as that at all. This is about the people of Batley and Spen.

"And it's about who's the best person to represent them in parliament."

She said: "I am the only person out of the 16 candidates that lives in Batley and Spen. Their problems are my problems. I know about the speeding cars and I know about the potholes because they're outside my house."

The by-election was triggered after Tracy Brabin, who won the seat for Labour in 2019 with a 3,525 majority over the Conservatives, was elected as the mayor of West Yorkshire in May.

Ms Leadbeater is the sister of former MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in the constituency in 2016.

The full list of candidates standing in alphabetical order by surname are:

  • Paul Bickerdike - Christian Peoples Alliance

  • Mike Davies - Alliance for Green Socialism

  • Jayda Fransen - Independent

  • George Galloway - Workers Party of Britain

  • Tom Gordon - Liberal Democrats

  • Thérèse Hirst, English Democrats

  • Howling Laud Hope - The Official Monster RavingLoony Party

  • Susan Laird, Heritage Party

  • Kim Leadbeater - Labour

  • Oliver Purser - Social Democratic Party

  • Corey Robinson - Yorkshire Party

  • Andrew Smith - Rejoin EU

  • Ryan Stephenson - Conservatives

  • Jack Thomson - UK Independence Party (UKIP)

  • Jonathan Tilt - Freedom Alliance Supporting Personal Freedom

  • Anne Marie Waters - The For Britain Movement