South Tyneside MPs hail the power of campaign for 'resilience and decency' in Batley and Spen by-election

The MPs for South Tyneside have applauded the campaign spearheaded by Jo Cox’s sister, as Labour narrowly held on to its Westminster seat for Batley and Spen.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 4:59 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd July 2021, 5:39 pm

One borough MP hailed the crucial by-election result as a victory for ‘resilience and decency in the face of hatred and intimidation’, with both praising the strength of Kim Leadbeater’s candidacy.

Ms Leadbeater, sister of the murdered MP Jo Cox, ensured Labour kept hold of the West Yorkshire seat by a narrow margin of some 300 votes.

The result will afford the embattled Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, some breathing space heading into his first Labour conference as party leader.

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Successful Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater with Labour Party leader Keir Starmer (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Speculation of a possible leadership challenge grew in the days leading up to the vote, with the party still reeling from a brutal by-election defeat in Hartlepool less than two months before this contest.

Much of the West Yorkshire by-election campaign was dominated by controversy surrounding the alleged tactics employed by ex-Labour MP, George Galloway, who said he would contest the result through a legal challenge.

However, South Shields MP, Emma Lewell-Buck, told The Gazette that the outcome represented ‘decency’ winning out over a politics of ‘hatred and intimidation’.

"I haven’t been able to stop smiling today,” she said.

Jarrow MP, Kate Osborne (left), and the MP for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck, both praised Kim Leadbeater's campaign.

"It was an honour to campaign for Kim who has shown incredible resilience and decency in the face of hatred and intimidation.

"She has shown how important it is for voters to have a representative who is embedded in their community, who knows what matters to them and is connected to them.”

Both MPs for South Tyneside praised Ms Leadbeater’s campaign and argued she will be a ‘strong voice’ for the West Yorkshire constituency in Parliament.

Mrs Lewell-Buck added: "By-elections, as I know all too well, can be tough. But what Kim, our volunteers and staffers have endured during this campaign has been something else.

"I know she will be a constant, strong voice for her constituents and am looking forward to working with her in Parliament.”

The MP for Jarrow, Kate Osborne, said: “It was a closely fought election and I am very pleased to see Kim Leadbeater elected to Parliament.

“She fought a good campaign in difficult circumstances and I am sure she will be a strong voice for the people of Batley and Spen.”

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