Kim Leadbeater is the Labour MP for Batley and Spen. She was elected in a July 2021 by-election with the narrow majority of 323 votes.
The by-election saw something of a bad tempered campaign even by the standards of British politics, with George Galloway’s Workers Party polling a fifth of the vote. The by-election was caused after the former Labour MP, Tracy Brabin, was elected to the position as West Yorkshire Mayor in May 2021. This particular Mayoral position has responsibility for the police, something which formally required Brabin, the former Coronation Street actress, to resign from Westminster.
The Batley and Spen constituency is found within the county of West Yorkshire and covers Batley, Cleckheaton and Birstall. It is located between Leeds, Bradford, and Huddersfield. This is an ethnically diverse seat with a sizeable south Asian community. This area has experienced its share of racial tension and the BNP won seats on the local council here in the early 2000s. Although the Conservatives held Batley and Spen between 1983 and 1997, in recent years this has been a more Labour leaning seat which the Labour Party won by 3,525 in the Conservative landslide year of 2019.
Leadbeater is sister of Jox Cox, the former Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in the constituency in June 2016.
Born in 1976, Leadbeater grew up in Batley and Spen. She attended the local Heckmondwike Grammar school, before studying at Leeds Beckett and Huddersfield Universities. She has a PGCE.
Prior to being elected to Westminster, Leadbeater had worked locally as a personal trainer, and as a sorts teacher at Bradford College. The college subsequently renamed its café, as the Jo Cox Café.
More recently Leadbeater served as an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation and head of the ‘More in Common’ community volunteer group in Batley and Spen. She was awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Year Honours list for her work on tackling social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Leadbeater’s selection as the Labour candidate for Batley and Spen proved controversial in some parts of the Party, given that she had only joined Labour shortly before being selected as its candidate.
Leadbeater is one of Parliament’s openly lesbian MPs, and lives with her partner, Claire Mullany.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/kimleadbeater
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