By KLTV Newsdesk –
The Labour Party has held their seat in Batley and Spen by a very narrow margin following a win by Kim Leadbeater.
The result came down to just 323 votes, with Ms Leadbeater beating her closet rival, Conservative Ryan Stephenson.
In total, Ms Leadbeater received 13296 votes, with Mr Stephenson receiving 12973 votes, and the Workers Party candidate George Galloway, coming in third place with 8264 votes.
This means she will represent the seat that was previously held by her late sister Jo Cox, who was murdered in the constituency in 2016, and Labour will continue to hold the seat they have held since 1997.
In a message on Twitter, Ms Leadbeater said that she is “truly honoured that the people of Batley and Spen have put their faith and trust in me”, and that “This is a win for every single one of them and for unity over division”.
In total, voter turnout was 47.6% with 37,786 votes verified.
It was expected to be a very close result, and that’s exactly what happened. There were calls for ‘bundle checks’ on the night of the count, as rumours swirled in the press gallery as to who had won.
Kim Leadbeater (Labour) has been elected as MP for the Batley and Spen Parliamentary constituency. You can see a the full list of results for all candidates below ?? pic.twitter.com/yMcPxCdSuk
— Kirklees Council (@KirkleesCouncil) July 2, 2021
The full voting results from Kirklees Council’s Twitter
The campaign for this election has been fraught and bitter, with tensions boiling over and leading to several incidents including intimidation in public and various allegations thrown between candidates.
Many candidates expressed said this was the first time they’d seen police attend an election count.
Outside the count, Mr Galloway said he would be taking legal action to get the result set aside, claiming that damage had been done to his election efforts after a “false statement” about him having laughed at Ms Leadbeater’s abuse during the campaign.
Mr Galloway also claimed that a recount request had been denied.
Labour leader Kier Starmer is set to visit the Batley and Spen constituency on Friday (2nd July) to congratulate Ms Leadbeater.
The result will have no doubt eased some of the pressure on Sir Kier, whose party trouble in the May local elections meant that a loss in Batley would have cast some serious doubts over the future of his leadership.
Despite this, such a narrow victory speaks volumes about the state of party politics in the area. Some have claimed that the election has further split communities and fuelled division.
For now, though, Labour has held their seat, and it will be interesting to see what comes next.