The Labour Party has held on to Batley and Spen after a hard-fought by-election campaign, with a reduced majority of just 323 – down from 3525.
Kim Leadbeater is the new MP from Batley and Spen, replacing Tracy Brabin who had to resign her seat to take on the West Yorkshire mayoral role.
Despite rumblings over the last couple of weeks that the party expected to lose to the Conservatives, a campaign focussed around a strong local candidate has seen Labour over the line in the West Yorkshire constituency.
The Conservatives came in second, with George Galloway’s Workers Party in third.
Speaking after the result, Kim Leadbeater said: “I will do my very best to represent the whole of Batley and Spen as their new MP. I’m absolutely delighted that the people of Batley and Spen have rejected division and they’ve voted for hope.”
She added: “I want to say a huge thank you to the police, who sadly I've needed more than ever over the last few weeks.”
Leadbeater has been commended by many for fighting a good campaign, particularly as tensions have risen over the last couple of weeks.
She was harassed by an anti-LGBT activist from Birmingham last week, and a group of Labour campaigners were assaulted in the street.
Leadbeater is the younger sister of Jo Cox, the former MP for Batley and Spen who was murdered by a neo-Nazi terrorist outside her constituency office in 2016.
The far-right extremist candidates who contested this election each received considerably less than 1 per cent of the vote.
George Galloway, who has been criticised for fanning the flames of division within the community throughout his campaign, said he will “take whatever legal measures necessary” to have the result set aside.
He said that as the margin of victory was less than one per cent a recount should have been granted, but the returning officer refused.
Turnout was 37,786, or 47.6 per cent, which is down significantly on the 2019 general election (52,927, 66.5 per cent) although this is not unusual for a by-election.
The full results of the Batley and Spen by-election are:
– Kim Leadbeater, Labour: 13296 – 35.3%
– Ryan Stephenson, Conservative: 12973 – 34.4%
– George Galloway, Workers Party: 8264 – 21.9%
– Tom Gordon, Liberal Democrat: 1254 – 3.3%
– Corey Robinson, Yorkshire Party: 816 – 2.2%
– Therese Hirst, English Democrats: 207 – 0.55%
– Jack Thomson, UKIP: 151 – 0.4%
– Howling Laud Hope, Monster Raving Loony Party: 107 – 0.3%
– Mike Davies, Alliance for Green Socialism: 104 – 0.3%
– Paul Bickerdike, Christian People’s Alliance: 102 – 0.3%
– Jonathan Tilt, Freedom Alliance: 100 – 0.3%
– Anne Marie Waters, The For Britain Movement: 97 – 0.3%
– Andrew Smith, Rejoin EU: 75 – 0.2%
– Oliver Purser, SDP: 66 – 0.1%
– Jayda Fransen, Independent: 50 – 0.1%
– Susan Laird, Heritage Party: 33 – 0.05%