Labour MP wins West Yorkshire mayoral election, triggering Batley and Spen by-election

The incumbent Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Tracy Brabin has won the West Yorkshire mayoral election, resulting in her vacating her parliamentary seat and triggering yet another by-election to be contested later this year.

Brabin won the mayoral election with 61.5 per cent of the vote after a second round run-off with Conservative candidate, Matt Robinson.

The West Yorkshire constituency will be a target for Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party who will want to build on the momentum gained from winning in Hartlepool on Thursday and extending their parliamentary majority.

The Tories held the seat until 1997, and only lost in 2019 by a relatively narrow margin of 3,525 votes. It is likely to be a highly-charged affair with the constituency holding particular significance for the Labour Party as it was the seat of the late Jo Cox until her murder in 2016.

Although not directly indicative of parliamentary support, the Conservatives made considerable gains in the constituency in Thursday’s local elections, increasing its vote share in the area by 16.2 per cent to 39.9 per cent, compared with Labour’s 39.6 per cent.

One potential hiccup for any Conservative candidate could be the Heavy Wollen District Independents, a local right-wing group who came third in the 2019 general election with over 6,000 votes. The party stood on a manifesto commitment to fight for a clean Brexit and implement a controlled immigration policy, and so it is questionable whether the party will seek to divide the right-wing vote and hinder the Conservatives’ chances this time around.

The area has also recently been the setting for a wider debate on freedom of expression following an incident at Batley Grammar School which has seen a teacher go into hiding after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his pupils, sparking outrage among the local Muslim community.

The constituency broke 60.3 per cent for ‘Leave’ in the Brexit referendum.