Tracy Brabin selected as Labour’s West Yorkshire mayoral candidate

Sienna Rodgers
© UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin has been announced as Labour’s West Yorkshire mayoral candidate after being selected by local party members ahead of the election taking place on May 6th.

Vote results

First preference votes received by each candidate:
Tracy Brabin – 4,389 – ELECTED
Hugh Goulbourne – 801
Susan Hinchcliffe – 3,475

Valid votes – 8,665
Invalid votes – 3
Turnout – 43.5%

Commenting on her selection win this afternoon, Brabin – who currently serves as Labour’s shadow minister for cultural industries – said: “I’m Yorkshire through and through, so this is a huge honour.

“I’m incredibly proud to be Labour’s mayoral candidate because it means representing the people I grew up with and the communities I grew up in to try and make a real and practical difference to their day to day lives.

“We’ve seen this year, more than any other, how much it matters who we elect. We need a mayor who is going to get West Yorkshire our fair share when it comes to funding, jobs, transport and a recovery from the pandemic.”

The new mayoral candidate, who won the internal race against Susan Hinchcliffe and Hugh Goulbourne, added: “There’s a big north/south divide in this country and we deserve better that to be treated as second-class citizens.

“There’s a big job to do in rebuilding our economy in a post-Covid-19 world, my job will be to make sure that what comes next is fair and delivers the jobs, skills and opportunities people in our cities, towns, villages and former mining communities deserve.”

Brabin, seen to be the most left-wing candidate in the internal contest, was backed by Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker and Labour MPs including Fabian Hamilton, Alex Sobel, Rachael Maskell and Naz Shah.

She also secured the endorsements of Unite, GMB, train drivers’ union ASLEF, transport workers’ union TSSA, the Communication Workers Union, the National Union of Mineworkers and the Co-operative Party.

The opposition frontbencher has said she hopes to modernise the region’s transport and increase economic investment into the area, from supporting green jobs and sustainable reindustrialisation to a “creative new deal”.

Writing for LabourList in October, Brabin argued: “We need a bold and creative vision. Campaigning as usual won’t win this election; neither cuts nor the status quo will rebuild our economy.”

She pledged to be an “ambassador for our region, fighting for investment and jobs” and a mayor committed to “community wealth building” and a “green economy”, as well as “better transport, social and council housing”.

The shadow minister wrote: “I’m West Yorkshire born and bred. Growing up in a council flat on an estate in Batley on free school meals, I’ve spent over three decades as a freelancer often living hand to mouth, pay cheque to pay cheque.

“I know I’m not a typical politician. I haven’t spent my life in politics but I have spent my life putting our values into action – organising donations in the miners’ strike, marching on Greenham Common, representing members as a union rep.”

Following local party nominations and interviews, a panel of Labour national executive committee (NEC) members and regional board officials shortlisted Brabin, Hinchcliffe and Goulbourne last month.

Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford council and chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, was supported by UNISON, Usdaw and Community. Huddersfield lawyer Goulbourne was backed by Labour peer Baroness Osamor among others.

Voting in West Yorkshire mayor selection process opened on November 23rd and closed at midday today, ahead of the inaugural race itself on May 6th next year alongside other contests across the country.

If Brabin is successful in the West Yorkshire contest, she would become the first female metro mayor, possibly along with Labour candidate Jessie Joe Jacobs in Tees Valley who is hoping to defeat the incumbent Tory.

Update, December 14th: Brabin has confirmed to The Guardian that she plans to give up her Westminster seat if she becomes mayor of West Yorkshire, believing it to be a “24/7 job”.

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