Kim Leadbeater sworn in as an MP, six years after her sister Jo Cox

5 July 2021, 18:57

By Joe Cook

Kim Leadbeater has been sworn in as the MP for Batley and Spen, the same constituency represented by her sister, murdered former MP Jo Cox.

The Labour MP narrowly won Thursday's by-election by a majority of just 323 after a bitter contest.

Entering Parliament with a huge smile, the Labour MP gave a thumbs up as she took her seat in the House of Commons.

She opted to affirm her allegiance to the Queen during the brief swearing-in ceremony.

Speaking after the ceremony, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the Commons: "Could I just congratulate the honourable member for Batley and Spen for taking her place and also say my personal admiration for both her bravery and sense of duty in putting herself forward to stand for that seat after the tragic loss of her sister."

Read more: 'She took on the job that killed her sister': James O'Brien praises Kim Leadbeater's 'courage'

Read more: Kim Leadbeater helped defeat politics of fear and division

Ms Leadbeater took her seat six years, one month and 16 days after her late sister Jo Cox joined, representing the same West Yorkshire constituency.

Jo Cox was the Labour MP for Batley and Spen between 2015 and 2016, before she was murdered by a far-right terrorist during the Brexit referendum campaign.

Speaking after her by-election victory on Thursday, Ms Leadbeater thanked her family, saying "without them I could not have got through the last five years nevermind the last five weeks."

Read more: Nick Ferrari challenges Tory MP who claims 'we didn't lose' Batley and Spen by-election

She also thanked the police for the protection she had been given amid allegations of intimidation during campaigning. She remarked: "Sadly I needed them more than ever."

"I'm absolutely delighted that the people of Batley and Spen have rejected division and they've voted for hope," she added.

Following the election win, Brendan Cox, the widower of Jo Cox, tweeted: "We are all incredibly proud of Kim Leadbeater today and Jo would have been too.

"While the result between the two main parties was close the extremists & haters were left trailing. The people of Batley & Spen have voted for decency and positivity once again."