I can’t tell you how happy I am that Kim Leadbeater is now the MP for Batley and Spen. I’m also really happy for residents there because they have a candidate and party that will work towards unity and reconciliation locally after a period of division, shock, and people coming into their community with poison and hate in order to exploit difference for political ends.
I went up to Batley for a couple of days last week to campaign with Kim. I’ve known her for ages and love her to pieces. She’s tough, principled and so warm and energetic. She’s the kind of person that will throw themselves into the challenges faced by their community and be a brilliant advocate locally and in the Commons.
It’s also a very poignant moment for her parents. They saw Kim’s sister, Jo Cox, murdered simply for standing up for her values and doing her job as an MP. Then they saw Kim being abused for doing the same in recent days. It must have been a painful experience for them, but I know they will be bursting with pride today. Blimey, they brought up two amazing daughters and their family is something we should all take pride in.
Labour had an outstanding candidate in Kim, a fantastic campaign that was full of hope and positive messages of change locally, and a national party headed up by Keir that was in total lockstep with them.
Despite the closeness of the overall result, don’t forget that thousands of voters switched from the Tories and other parties to Labour thanks to this campaign and it really points the national party to a better way forward for us. It’s great to be learning positive messages like this than teh negative ones of the past…all that listening that’s being done is starting to pay off!