Conservatives choose Leeds councillor Ryan Stephenson as candidate for Batley and Spen by-election
A Conservative Leeds councillor and academy trust director has been chosen as the party's candidate for the Batley and Spen by-election.
Ryan Stephenson, the Chairman of the West Yorkshire Conservatives, was chosen by local Tories to stand to replace Tracy Brabin as the area's MP.
Ms Brabin triggered the by-election after resigning as MP when she won the West Yorkshire mayoral election this month.
Coun Stephenson, a councillor in the Harewood ward, said his campaign will focus on jobs, apprenticeships, investment and helping to build back better after the pandemic.
He said: “I know it will be a tough battle to win the seat, but I will work non-stop to show I am the best candidate to champion and represent Batley & Spen and I will demonstrate how my plans for the people’s priorities will improve lives for families here.
“My campaign will focus on how Batley & Spen can build back better as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It will mean a focus on quality sustainable jobs, apprenticeships and the investment the area needs.
“The Government is committed to levelling up and if elected as Batley & Spen’s MP I will work with them and people here in West Yorkshire, including the new West Yorkshire Mayor, to ensure opportunity is available for all,” he added.
Earlier, the sister of murdered Yorkshire MP Jo Cox has insisted she has her “own priorities and my own dreams” for her home constituency of Batley & Spen as she bids to become Labour’s candidate.
Kim Leadbeater said she was “very much my own person” ahead of a decision this weekend about who will be Labour’s candidate.
Applications are open for the candidacy for the Batley and Spen by-election, with Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to draw up a shortlist on Saturday and members making their final choice on Sunday, sources confirmed to the PA news agency.
And while it has not yet been announced when the by-election triggered by former MP Ms Brabin’s election as West Yorkshire mayor will be, speculation is that late July is being considered.
Speaking during a visit to a bus factory in North Yorkshire with London mayor Sadiq Khan, Ms Brabin said she would “move heaven and earth” to make sure Labour won the race.