Monday, July 26, 2021
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‘Time for change!’ Labour on alert as locals in Brexit-backing Batley and Spen rage

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer may face a fight for his position if he suffers another by-election loss when residents in Batley and Spen go to the polls on July 1. But locals interviewed by GB News were less than impressed with Labour’s record in the constituency with one woman branding the area “a shambles” and another demanding Labour “get out” no matter what. A Survation poll puts the Conservative Party six points ahead of Labour at 47 to 41 percent with former Labour MP George Galloway polled at 6 percent and, is predicted, to split the Labour vote.

GB News spoke with Batley and Spen locals who said they supported Labour in the past but have grown frustrated with the party over their lack of action in the area. 

Batley and Spen has been under Labour control since 1997 and has a strong majority supporting Brexit.

One local told GB News: “I’ve always voted Labour but I really think that our views are not being aired.”

The man explained issues relating to roads and infrastructure in the area has been ignored despite many voicing their concerns. 

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He added the local transport was also non-existent in a scathing rant against Labour. 

Another man was interviewed and echoed the concerns of other locals. 

He said: “I’ve voted Labour in the past but I’ve seen the same type of issues not being resolved time after time. 

“West Yorkshire doesn’t get the importance that it needs.

“So it genuinely is a time for reform and a time for a change.”

Labour has faced several unfriendly clashes while campaigning in Batley and Spen which saw candidate Kim Leadbeater heckled and chased by out-of-town critics. 

Reports also say Labour activists have been “egged and kicked” while canvassing. 

George Galloway’s campaign in Batley and Spen has caused major disruptions for Labour.

Despite being third in the polls, Mr Galloway is presumed to have stolen previous Labour voters away from the party as he accused Labour of ignoring the needs of the working classes. 

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Batley and Spen was the constituency of murdered MP Jo Cox until 2016 when it was then taken over by Tracy Brabin following another by-election.

Other major parties chose to not stand in the constituency out of respect leaving Ms Brabin to stand relatively unopposed. 

Ms Brabin resigned when she was elected as West Yorkshire mayor, triggering a new by-election. 

Sir Keir has faced calls from some Labour activists to resign if he loses Batley and Spen as a recent poll suggests 69 percent of Labour members would like to see Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham take the reins instead.

Sir Keir’s spokesman played down the prospect of a victory by saying it “has always been a marginal seat” and that winning “was always going to be challenging”.

“Keir is not going to resign,” he responded when asked by journalists at a Westminster briefing.

He added: “Keir has been absolutely clear that this is a four-year path to get back into power and he is determined to lead the party into the next general election and to take us back into Government.”

The results of the by-election are likely to be made public either late July 1 or early the following morning. 

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