Batley and Spen: Kim Leadbeater helped defeat politics of fear and division

2 July 2021, 09:11

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

'It was close because it was a very difficult by-election campaign we had the politics of fear and division across the communities of Batley and Spen.'

Labour MP Shabana Mahmood has told LBC that Kim Leadbeater was able to win in Batley and Spen because she was able to show the local communities she would be a "strong advocate" for them in Parliament.

When Nick Ferrari asked the Labour MP which one of Sir Keir Starmer's policies "resonated" in the area, the response was that the party has a strong focus on crime and anti-social behaviour.

"People were talking about our policy where we were calling on the government to scrap the new royal yacht and spend it on tackling anti-social behaviour."

"How much, if at all, did the Matt Hancock affair raise its ugly head?" Nick asked.

Ms Mahmood said there were some people who were undecided that it may have influenced, but that wider concern about 'one rule for me one rule for them' that also helped sway voters.

Kim Leadbeater took the Batley and Spen by-election for Labour despite a strong challenge from the Conservatives.

She received 13,296 votes, a majority of 323 over Tory candidate Ryan Stephenson after a bitter contest. George Galloway, who targeted voters in traditionally Labour areas with the aim of toppling Sir Keir, came third.

"There's way too many people to mention by name, but I do want to refer to my family and my friends, who, without them, I could not have got through the last five years, never mind the last five weeks," Ms Leadbeater said in her victory speech in Huddersfield.

"My amazing parents and my wonderful partner, and I want to give a special shout out to my niece and nephew who I cannot wait to hug as soon as I see them", she added referring to the children of her late sister.