Batley and Spen resident says it's ‘time for reform'
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Batley and Spen residents will vote in England’s third by-election in as many months tomorrow. Following the stunning upset in Chesham and Amersham, Brits will likely hope for more excitement, but a different kind of chaos has engulfed the area. Local voters can decide what happens as the polls open tomorrow, but they may have questions about when and where to go.
Who is standing in Batley and Spen?
Batley and Spen has provided a valuable opportunity for both political parties and independent candidates.
Labour hopes to keep the constituency, formerly held by the late Jo Cox and, more recently, Tracy Brabin, under their control.
Their candidate, Ms Cox’s late sister Kim Leadbeater, hopes to represent the area in which she grew up, and she states some “nasty, divisive figures” have descended in her wake.
In total, 16 people have taken up the opportunity to represent Batley and Spen.
Outside of the established parties, few of these 16 come from the Yorkshire area.
Ms Leadbeater, her Conservative competitor Ryan Stephenson and Liberal Democrat Tom Gordon, for instance, all hail from nearby towns.
Others come from hundreds of miles away, entering the region to fulfil more general political aims, including some highly controversial far-right presence.
All 16 candidates standing in Batley and Spen:
- Kim Leadbeater: Labour Party
- Ryan Stephenson: Conservative and Unionist Party
- Tom Gordon: Liberal Democrats
- Paul Bickerdike: Christian People’s Alliance
- Mike Davies: Alliance For Green Socialism
- Howling Laud Hope: Official Monster Raving Loony Party
- Ollie Purser: Social Democratic Party
- Corey Robinson: Yorkshire Party
- Andrew Smith: Rejoin EU
- Jonathan Richard Tilt: Freedom Alliance
- Anne Marie Waters: The For Britain Movement
- Jayda Fransen: Independent
- George Galloway: Workers Party of Britain
- Jack Thomson: UK Independence Party (UKIP)
- Susan Laird: Heritage Party
- Thérèse Hirst: English Democrats
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Despite the laundry list of candidates, pundits believe the race in Batley in Spen is between two parties; Labour and the Conservatives.
Labour has held the constituency since 1997 but seems unlikely to hold it tomorrow.
Despite excitement behind Ms Leadbeater, The Guardian has reported Labour figures believe they have just a five to 10 percent chance of keeping the seat.
Both the candidate and her team have received a hostile welcome in the area, as people harrassed canvassers and pelted them with eggs.
Their loss would prove devastating for Labour, which would lose two seats and an opportunity to gain one.
One backbencher told the Guardian another by-election loss could signal significant incoming forfeits for the party.
They said “everyone” would watch on, with losses suggesting another “20 to 50” northern seats hanging in the balance.
Much of the fallout has landed on party leader Sir Keir Starmer, with restlessness developing on the backbencher.
Rumours have suggested opinion is turning against him despite successful performances in Prime Minister’s Questions.
The party has quashed these rumours, however, stating he has no intention of stepping back.
One Labour spokesman told The Independent: “Keir’s not going to resign.
“What the British people are worried about at the moment is their jobs, their kids and the future of their country.”
They added: “That is exactly what Keir is focused on.
“That’s what he’ll spend the summer talking about and he will take the Labour Party though into the next general election and back into government.”
Shadow sports minister Alison McGovern said the result doesn’t necessarily suggest failure on Sir Keir’s part.
She said the party has “got to argue for Keir to be the Prime Minister”.
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