Labour set to pick Batley and Spen by-election candidate this weekend

Labour’s candidate in the Batley and Spen by-election will be chosen on Sunday, a party source has confirmed.

Applications are open for the candidacy, with the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to draw up a shortlist on Saturday and members choosing the final pick 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 Tracy Brabin’s election as West Yorkshire mayor will be, speculation is that late July is being considered.

It is understood the selection could have been carried out sooner, however the chaos surrounding the sacking of Angela Rayner as party chairman is thought to have slightly delayed the process.

Regional Mayoral elections
The seat became vacant after Tracy Brabin was elected mayor of West Yorkshire (Amy Murphy/PA)

Kim Leadbeater, sister of murdered former Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox, has announced she will be putting her name forward.

Ms Leadbeater, who established the Jo Cox Foundation in honour of her sister, said she had been “moved” by the number of local people urging her to run.

“It has knocked me for six,” she previously told the Batley and Birstall News.

“I would love to represent this extraordinary, vibrant place that I have called home all my life. I am touched that so many people seem to think I would do a good job.”

Others rumoured to be interested in standing include Paula Sherriff, the former Labour MP for Dewsbury.

Lisa Johnson, external relations director for GMB union, and Salma Arif, a Leeds council cabinet member, had also been mooted but have both ruled themselves out.

The race is seen as a key test for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after the party lost the Hartlepool by-election to the Conservatives earlier this month.

A Conservative Party spokesman said their candidate would be announced “in due course”, however a source said it could be as soon as this week.