VOTERS in Batley and Spen will go to the polls on Thursday to elect their new MP.
The seat was left vacant after the shocking murder of Jo Cox in June. The major parties in Britain said they would not contest the seat but nine other candidates are standing against Labour hopeful Tracy Brabin.
The 10 candidates are:
Corbyn-Anti – By-election protest: The person calling himself Corbyn-Anti (he will appear on the ballot paper as ‘Anti-Corbyn’) is in fact English Democrat member Neil Humphrey, who it would appear is attempting to split the Labour vote.
Tracy Brabin - Labour: A longstanding Labour supporter and friend of Mrs Cox. Raised in the area, Ms Brabin said after her victory in the Labour hustings: “No-one can replace Jo... but I promise if you put your faith in me I will be a loud, proud and strong Yorkshire voice speaking up for everyone in Batley and Spen. I want to reach out to all voters, no matter who they may have voted for in the past. People think this election is a shoe-in but it really isn’t. We need to show people that we believe in hope and not division.”
Jack Buckby - Liberty GB: The first person to announce he would be contesting the seat, the 23-year-old is a former BNP member who left the party because he said it was too racist. The Liberty GB party say they want to “save Britain” and urge supporters to say “no to terrorism, yes to Britain”.
Richard Edmonds - National Front: The National Front is a far-right, white nationalist political group which gathered a large following in the 1970s and 80s but has never won a seat in Parliament. The group wants to put a stop to immigration to the UK.
David Furness - British National Party: BNP campaign organiser David Furness recently stood in the London mayoral elections but received just 0.5 per cent of the votes. He said: “I’m very sensitive to the facts surrounding the tragic death of the previous MP for Batley and Spen. It’s vital this attack on our treasured democracy does not succeed by having this by-election go uncontested. I will campaign against uncontrolled mass immigration which has been so devastating to our country.”
Therese Hirst - English Democrats: Another right-wing party, the English Democrats have put forward their deputy chairman. The party states it is not racist but wants a referendum on English independence from the rest of the UK and to put an end to all mass immigration. Therese Hirst said her main focus would be on health care in the area.
Waqas Ali Khan - Independent: A UKIP member from Bradford, Mr Khan stood in the 2015 general election in Shipley, coming third behind the Tories and Labour. He says he is standing to oppose Mr Buckby, whom he believes would cause racial hatred and division in the constituency.
Garry Kitchin - Independent: Claims he is the only local candidate in the election, saying: “I am the only declared candidate who lives in the constituency and I am keen to represent the area and community I know well.” He defended his decision to stand by stating it was right to do so in the interest of democracy and added: “Basic democratic principles mean that in every constituency, people have the right to a full range of candidates.”
Ankit Love - One Love Party: States his main aim is to tackle air pollution. Claiming to be a film director and music producer, he founded the One Love Party last year. He released an online rap video and single called ‘Jo Cox: I’ll Be Missing You’ on what would have been her 42nd birthday. His internet media release said proceeds will be donated to orphans in Kashmir, Palestine and Syria.
Henry Mayhew - Independent: Critical of the main parties’ decision not to contest the seat. He said: “I ask for the support of local people as a candidate for the Batley and Spen by-election to defend an important point of constitutional principle: that parliamentary elections should be democratic and should be contested by the main political parties.”
BATLEY & SPEN: The Labour Party have reported to the police leaflets which claim to be from the official EU Remain campaign.
The election leaflet, which superficially offers support to Labour candidate Tracy Brabin, refers to those who voted to leave the EU as “racists and bigots”.
A Labour party spokesperson said: “We have reported this disgraceful fake leaflet to the police and the returning officer as this is clearly a breach of electoral law by whoever has created it.
“That anyone contesting a by-election taking place in such tragic circumstances would stoop to such desperate and contemptible depths defies belief.”
No to hustings
BATLEY & SPEN: Labour hopeful Tracy Brabin declined to take part in a hustings event ahead of next Thursday’s by-election, it is claimed.
Ms Brabin is widely expected to win the seat left vacant following the death of Jo Cox.
She will come up against nine fringe party and independent candidates on Thursday.
In an email to the organiser of the event, planned for this Sunday in Roberttown, a Labour spokesperson said: “There are several fringe parties and independents standing.
“We have no intention of sharing a platform with any such candidates but instead call on people across Batley and Spen to stand together on October 20 and choose unity over division, hope over hatred.”
The hustings event was proposed by the Workers of England Union.
President and campaign director Eddie Bone said: “The reason given for declining the hustings shocked me because I believe the response given by this representative of the Labour Party rejects democracy.
“Democratic debate must always come first in any election as it unites us all and silences hatred.”
BATLEY: Police are investigating an alleged altercation between rival political parties in Batley market place at the weekend.
The English Democrats, who are standing in the Batley and Spen by-election, have accused a Labour councillor of damaging their stall and using abusive language towards them.
West Yorkshire Police have confirmed they are investigating the matter.
A Labour spokesperson said: “We are aware of the allegations and are looking into them.”