Jo Cox: Murdered MP's sister plans to stand in Batley and Spen by-election

12 May 2021, 20:06

Kim Leadbeater said she would be talking to Labour members in Batley and Spen about running in the forthcoming by-election
Kim Leadbeater said she would be talking to Labour members in Batley and Spen about running in the forthcoming by-election. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The sister of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox has said she intends to stand for Parliament in the seat once represented by her sibling.

Kim Leadbeater said she would be talking to Labour members in Batley and Spen about running for the party in the forthcoming by-election.

The seat became vacant at the weekend after the sitting MP Tracy Brabin became the first elected mayor of West Yorkshire.

READ MORE: PM in storm for saying best way to honour Jo Cox is to 'get Brexit done'

It was previously represented by Mrs Cox until she was shot and stabbed by a far-right extremist in June 2016.

Ms Leadbeater, who established the Jo Cox Foundation in honour of her sister, said she had been "moved" by the number of local people urging her to run.

Jo Cox was shot and stabbed by a far-right extremist in June 2016
Jo Cox was shot and stabbed by a far-right extremist in June 2016. Picture: PA

"It has knocked me for six," she told the Batley and Birstall News.

"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.

"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."

Many commentators have predicted that Labour faces a tough fight to hold onto the seat - which Ms Brabin held with a 3,525 majority at the last general election - after its by-election drubbing in Hartlepool.

The party may well welcome a candidate with strong local connections amid criticism that it is too London-centric and has lost touch with its traditional heartlands.