Jo Cox’s sister begins Westminster campaign with vow to change politics
he sister of murdered MP Jo Cox began her campaign to keep Batley and Spen’s seat for the Labor Party by saying, “I’m going into politics to change politics, not to change who I am.”
Kim Leadbeater was selected as the Labor candidate for the by-elections in the West Yorkshire constituency on Sunday evening and knocked on Heckmondwike’s doors on Monday.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, she said: ‘The most important thing for me is that this is my patch.
“This is the region in which I have lived all my life.
“It’s very, very personal to me and it’s very, very local to me.
“I care and want to make a difference.”
She told the newspaper: “I’m not going to change.
“I go into politics to change politics, not to change who I am.”
After Ms Leadbeater was picked on Sunday by the local constituency Labor Party, she said she was ‘overwhelmed and humiliated’ by the support she received from party members at the headquarters that her sister was used to to represent.
Her selection was welcomed by party leader Sir Keir Starmer who said her roots in the community would make her a “fantastic champion” for the constituency.
The by-election was triggered by the election of Labor MP Tracy Brabin to leave Westminster following her election as West Yorkshire’s first mayor.
Unlike neighboring Sheffield City area mayor Dan Jarvis, Ms Brabin was unable to retain her parliamentary seat as she took on the role of Police and Crime Commissioner.
Mr Jarvis joined Ms Leadbeater in the pouring rain campaign trial on Monday in Heckmondwike.
The seat was represented by Ms Cox until she was assassinated by a far-right extremist in June 2016.
The Labor Party is desperate to retain its seat after the party’s landslide defeat in another ‘red wall’ by-election in Hartlepool earlier this month.
Former shadowy Home Secretary Diane Abbott, a close ally of ex-leader Jeremy Corbyn, said it could be ‘curtains’ for Sir Keir if they lose again.
The Tories have chosen Leeds adviser Ryan Stephenson, the West Yorkshire Tory chairman, to fight the by-elections.
No date has been set for the contest, although Labor, which defends a majority of 3,525 against the 2019 general election, is expected to largely delay it until the end of July.