Labour seeks unity against extremists

Tracy Brabin is Labours candidate for Batley and Spen.
Tracy Brabin is Labours candidate for Batley and Spen.

Labour candidate Tracy Brabin is hoping Conservative and Liberal Democrat supporters back her in the Batley and Spen by-election to show unity against extreme groups.

The Tories and Lib Dems will not field candidates in the by-election, which was triggered by the death of Jo Cox in June, but far-right parties are expected to stand.

Ms Brabin is a near-certainty to win the safe Labour seat, but she is hoping for a strong turnout on October 20 and an “overwhelming” victory.

Ms Brabin, best known to many for her TV acting roles in Coronation Street and Emmerdale, said: “The big emphasis is that it’s got to be about bringing people together now.

“It’s important I meet everybody in the constituency. I’m hoping that they will trust me and believe in me enough that they can put their normal party political allegiances to one side. We need to work together.”

Mrs Cox was a passionate campaigner for community cohesion, a cause her family and friends have continued to pursue since her death.

Ms Brabin campaigned with Mrs Cox in the 2015 General Election and worked with her in efforts to save libraries in the area.

The relationship played a major part in Ms Brabin’s decision to seek the nomination.

“A number of people in the Labour Party asked me what I thought about maybe putting my name in and it just felt like all roads led here,” she said.

“I couldn’t let her memory down by not having the courage to stand.”

Ms Brabin went to Heckmondwike Grammar School and was the first person in her family to go to university.

Tributes to Mrs Cox at this week’s Labour Party conference prompted two standing ovations.

The following candidates are confirmed as standing in the Batley and Spen by-election:

Corbyn, Anti - By Election protest;

Brabin, Tracy - Labour;

Buckby, Jack - No to Terrorism, Yes to Britain;

Edmonds, Richard - National Front;

Furness, David - BNP;

Hirst, Therese - English Democrats;

Khan, Waqas - Independent;

Kitchin, Garry - Independent;

Love, Ankit - One Love Party;

Mayhew, Henry - Independent;