Labour candidate to face nine rivals in poll prompted by Jo Cox's death


Labour's Tracy Brabin will face nine other candidates in the by-election prompted by the death of MP Jo Cox, including a number from a range of far-right organisations.

The Tories, Lib Dems and Ukip stood by their pledge not to field candidates in next month's by-election out of respect for Mrs Cox, who was shot and stabbed to death outside her constituency office in Birstall in June.

But nine candidates have been nominated to stand against Ms Brabin, a former Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Eastenders actress, who was selected by Labour as their candidate in the West Yorkshire constituency last week.

Among the groups represented by the candidates are representatives of the National Front, the British National Party and the anti-Islam Liberty GB party.

Ms Brabin, 55, was selected from a shortlist of two at a meeting of Labour members in the constituency on Friday following hustings at a Batley school.

Campaigning in Cleckheaton on Saturday, she said she knew Mrs Cox and added: "I'm really, really committed to making her proud."

Ms Brabin said she was brought up in a council flat in the constituency and her mother owned a popular local cafe called Betty's.

She played Tricia Armstrong in Coronation Street in the 1990s before appearing as Roxy Drake in EastEnders and Carole in Emmerdale.

She has also written for shows including Family Affairs, Tracy Beaker and Hollyoaks.

A number of the other nine candidates had declared their candidature and put out a statement ahead of Tuesday's deadline.

English Democrats' candidate Therese Hirst is a former leader of Veritas, the party formed by Robert Kilroy-Silk, which later merged with the English Democrats.

Independent Garry Kitchin has said he is standing because he believes "basic democratic principles mean that, in every constituency, people have the right to a full range of candidates to choose from when they select their MP".

Another independent candidate, Waqas Ali Khan, is a Ukip member who stood for the party in the 2015 general election in Shipley, coming third behind Tory Philip Davies.

The candidate named on the nominations notice as Corbyn Anti will appear on the ballot paper as "ANTI Corbyn".

The poll, which will take place on October 20, was called following the death of Mrs Cox, who was 41 and had two young children when she was killed on June 16.

Her death shocked the nation and provoked an outpouring of bewilderment and soul-searching around the world.

Mrs Cox was elected to parliament in the 2015 general election when she held Batley and Spen for Labour with a 6,051 majority over the Conservative candidate, with a 43% share of the vote.

The candidates in the by-election are:

:: Corbyn Anti - By Election Protest

:: Tracy Lynn Brabin - Labour Party

:: Jack Buckby - Liberty GB

:: Richard Charles Edmonds - National Front

:: David Furness - British National Party

:: Therese Hurst - English Democrats

:: Waqas Ali Khan - Independent

:: Garry Mervyn Kitchin - Independent

:: Ankit Love - One Love Party

:: Henry Edmund Burke Mayhew - Independent

Batley and Spen has an electorate of 78,373. At the 2015 general election there was a 64.4% turnout. The result was:

:: Jo Cox (Lab) 21,820 (43.23%)

:: Imtiaz Ameen (C) 15,769 (31.24%)

:: Aleks Lukic (Ukip) 9,080 (17.99%)

:: John Lawson (Lib Dem) 2,396 (4.75%)

:: Ian Bullock (Green) 1,232 (2.44%)

:: Dawn Wheelhouse (TUSC) 123 (0.24%)

:: Karl Varley (PSP) 53 (0.11%)