Sister of Jo Cox bids to stand as MP in by-election for her former seat

The sister of murdered MP Jo Cox today threw her hat in the ring to stand for Labour in the Batley and Spen by-election.

Labour faces a huge test to cling onto the West Yorkshire seat where Ms Cox was killed by a far-right terrorist in June 2016.

Her sister, Kim Leadbeater, a campaigner who has lived locally all her life, confirmed she hoped to be the Labour candidate for her home town.

The party is defending a slim majority of 3,525 votes in the seat after local MP Tracy Brabin was elected at the weekend as the first mayor of West Yorkshire.

Ms Leadbeater told the Batley & Birstall news: “I would love to represent this extraordinary, vibrant place that I have called home all my life.”

She said: “The truth is, I have never really seen myself as a political animal, but I care deeply about the area where I was born and have always lived, and where the people are second to none.”

Jo Cox, who was murdered in 2016
Kim’s sister Jo Cox, who was murdered in 2016

She added: “Everyone knows I talk a lot, but I also listen a lot. And I’ve listened to hundreds of people over these last few years.

“I’ve heard how disillusioned and disengaged they are with politics and how worried they are about the future of our towns and villages. And I’ve listened to their ideas about how we can give Batley and Spen an even brighter future.

“I won’t pretend to have all the answers, but I will speak up wherever and whenever it takes, so the voice of this constituency is heard loud and clear.”

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has said the party’s candidate must be selected by local members after frustrating the Hartlepool party by imposing one on them.

Keir Starmer is under huge pressure to define an alternative Labour vision after the party’s devastating defeat in last week’s by-election, and a series of local races across the country.

No date has yet been set for the by-election, with mid-June the earliest it could be held although that is thought unlikely as it would clash with the fifth anniversary of Mrs Cox’s death.


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