Jo Cox's sister selected as Labour candidate for Batley and Spen by-election

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Kim Leadbeater - Yorkshire and the Humber Labour Party/ PA
Kim Leadbeater - Yorkshire and the Humber Labour Party/ PA

The sister of murdered MP Jo Cox has been selected by the Labour party to run in her former seat.

Kim Leadbeater was last night selected as the Labour candidate for the Batley and Spen by-election, which will take place in July.

The vote will be seen as a major test for Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, after the recent humiliating byelection defeat in Hartlepool. Last week Diane Abbott said that failure in the West Yorkshire stronghold should spell “curtains” for Sir Keir.

Ms Leadbeater, 44, said she was “overwhelmed and humbled by the support” from members in Batley and Spen. She said: “I'm ready to hit the ground running and take Labour's campaign to local people.”

During an online hustings meeting yesterday afternoon Ms Leadbeater said she was a “proud Yorkshire woman” and “the candidate the Tories fear”.

Jo Cox - TIM STEWART NEWS LIMITED
Jo Cox - TIM STEWART NEWS LIMITED

She said: “We need strong northern voices at Westminster. People rooted in their communities. I will work to represent people across the whole constituency.

“Nobody should be in any doubt about the scale of the task we have to keep Batley and Spen Labour. The spotlight will be on us – but I want to show the world that both the Labour party in Batley and Spen and our community are strong and proud.”

Ms Leadbeater has worked as an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation, which was established to campaign for issues her sister, who was murdered in 2016, had cared about. Sir Keir said: "Batley and Spen holds an important place in the Labour Party's heart. And Kim's work to bring people together, just as her sister Jo Cox did, has inspired us all.

“The people of the constituency know Kim well, admiring her hard work in the community and her determination to build a fairer, kinder society. I look forward to joining her on the campaign trail."

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