Leeds & West Yorkshire

Batley and Spen by-election: Tracy Brabin victory for 'hope and unity'

Tracy Brabin smiles after winning the by-election in murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox"s Batley and Spen constituency. REUTERS/Craig Brough Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Tracy Brabin described her victory as "bitter sweet"

The newly-elected MP for Batley and Spen has described her win as a victory for "hope and unity".

Labour's Tracy Brabin was elected with an increased majority in the West Yorkshire seat of the late MP Jo Cox.

Although the other major parties opted not to stand, a number of smaller parties - including the National Front and BNP - did.

Mrs Brabin said: "We have shown that we stand together with one voice choosing unity and hope."

Describing her victory as "bitter sweet" she said she hoped Mrs Cox would have been "proud tonight of our community".

The former Coronation Street, Emmerdale and EastEnders actress was loudly heckled by some supporters of her rival candidates during her speech.

She said: "I am delighted more than anything that the fringe parties have lost their deposits.

"It is a positive endorsement from the people of Batley and Spen about what they are looking for and what they want from me, which is unity and bringing people together."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nine candidates from a range of smaller parties chose to stand against Tracy Brabin (l)

Len Tingle, Yorkshire Political Editor

It would have been the political shock of all time if Labour had not retaken Batley and Spen with a huge majority and locally-born TV actress Tracy Brabin did not disappoint.

Labour party campaign managers had set themselves the twin objectives of ensuring a big turnout and that the nine candidates who put their names on the ballot paper from tiny fringe parties or standing as independents should be so badly supported they would lose their deposits.

The little known English Democrats' candidate, Therese Hirst, came a distant second but with less than a thousand votes she will not be getting her £500 back.

Neither will all the others who trailed behind her. But Labour was unable build on the undoubted swell of public outrage at the violent death of their MP.

The party's existing vote did hold up well but with overall turnout down to just over 25% from the 64% at last year's General Election, it looks as though the supporters of the other mainstream parties simply stayed at home.

Image copyright Brendan Cox
Image caption Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed in her West Yorkshire constituency

Brendan Cox, Jo's husband, tweeted his congratulations: "Well done @Tracy4MP & great to see all the purveyors of hate lose their deposits."

Mrs Cox was shot and stabbed in Birstall on 16 June. A man has been charged in connection with her death.

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