Kim Leadbeater has released a campaign video that puts her local roots at the heart of her bid for election as the next MP for Batley and Spen. Labour’s candidate for the by-election, taking place on July 1st after Tracy Brabin was elected as West Yorkshire mayor, is the sister of murdered ex-MP Jo Cox. An old photo of Leadbeater and Cox together is shown in the video.
The candidate uses the video to celebrate not only Batley and Spen, but other “really precious places” within the constituency, such as Heckmondwike and Cleckheaton. It also shows off her gregarious personality and enthusiasm as she speaks to a voter who praises her “fantastic” work during the pandemic. Leadbeater, ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation, then explains her Covid project ‘Community Makes Us’.
Leadbeater is briefly shown wearing a Labour rosette, and the logo appears in the corner at the very end of the video, but neither the party nor its leadership are mentioned by the candidate. Keir Starmer’s net approval rating has fallen to the same low level as Jeremy Corbyn’s at the same stage of his leadership, according to Ipsos MORI, and Labour insiders are worried about the impact of George Galloway running in Batley and Spen.
While the Tory candidate has been boosted by the Heavy Woollen District Independents, Reform UK and Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party all choosing not to contest the seat, Galloway is determined to win over former Labour voters and drive the party into third place. He has attacked Labour under Starmer for its alleged “complicity in the crimes against the Palestinian people”.
Leadbeater will be hoping that her deep roots in the area and her work in the community will be enough to see Labour win. The campaigner and personal trainer has said Labour needs more “real people” in parliament and has vowed to “burst the Westminster bubble” if she wins the constituency that her sister once represented.