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2016 Batley and Spen by-election

The Batley and Spen by-election was a UK parliamentary by-election held on 20 October 2016 in the constituency of Batley and Spen. The by-election was triggered by the killing of incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) Jo Cox on 16 June 2016.[1] Labour candidate Tracy Brabin won with 85.8% of the vote. Four parties with parliamentary representation did not enter candidates, out of respect for Cox. Nine candidates, the majority of whom were from minor far-right parties, contested against Labour, and none reached the 5% threshold to keep their deposit.

2016 Batley and Spen by-election

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Batley and Spen constituency
  First party
  Official portrait of Tracy Brabin - v2 crop 2.jpg
Candidate Tracy Brabin
Party Labour
Popular vote 17,506
Percentage 85.8%
Swing Increase42.6%

Location of Batley and Spen within West Yorkshire

MP before election

Jo Cox

Elected MP

Tracy Brabin

The by-election was scheduled to coincide with the Witney by-election.[2] They were the fifth and sixth by-elections of the 56th UK Parliament.


The Conservative Party, followed by the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Greens, stated that, as a mark of respect, they would not contest the by-election.[3][4] Brendan Cox, Jo Cox's widower, also ruled out standing for the seat.[5]

Labour began the process of selecting a candidate on 14 September.[6] Batley-born actress Tracy Brabin, and Keighley-based[7] campaigner Jane Thomas were shortlisted for selection on 19 September.[8] Brabin won the selection on 23 September.[9] Brabin had campaigned for Cox at the 2015 election, and had been told by her that "you should be an MP".[10]

On 18 July, the English Democrats announced that their deputy chairman Therese Hirst, a former leader of Veritas, would be their candidate.[11] Hirst (as Therese Muchewicz) stood for Bradford West at the 2015 general election, but came last with 98 votes (0.2%). She was again their candidate for West Yorkshire in the 2016 Police and Crime Commissioner elections, where she again had the least support, with 20,656 votes (3.9%). She had previously stood for Veritas in Bradford South in 2005.[12]

The British National Party (BNP) chose David Furness, who had earlier that year received 0.5% of votes in the London mayoral election.[13] The National Front chose veteran campaigner Richard Edmonds, a perennial candidate for them and the BNP who came last with 49 votes in Carshalton and Wallington in the 2015 general election.[13] On 18 June 2016, Liberty GB announced that Jack Buckby, a former BNP politician, would be its candidate in the by-election.[14] Liberty GB registered the description 'No to terrorism, yes to Britain,' which appeared on the ballot paper instead of the party name.[15] Neil Humphrey stood for the English Independence party as Corbyn Anti (and so was listed as 'Anti Corbyn' on the ballot paper);[16] this new party supports English nationalism.[17]

Waqas Ali Khan stood as an independent;[18][19] he was the UKIP candidate for Shipley at the 2015 general election, coming third of six candidates.[20] Garry Kitchin previously stood for the Green Party in local elections.[21] He was the only candidate registered to an address in the constituency.[13] London-based musician Ankit Love stood for the One Love Party, which campaigns against air pollution.[13] He contested several elections earlier in the year, including the London mayoral election.[22]


The result was declared at 1:45 am at Cathedral House in Huddersfield. Brabin held the seat for Labour on one of the lowest turnouts for a Parliamentary by-election since the end of the Second World War. All other candidates polled less than 5% of the vote and lost their deposits. Brabin was heckled by some of the other candidates as she delivered her speech at the declaration of the result.[23] In her speech she said "Tonight is a bittersweet occasion for me. That this by-election had to take place at all is a tragedy. Whether you voted for me, voted for other candidates or didn't vote at all, I give you my word, I will be equally strong for each and every one of you."[23] She thanked the parties who chose not to contest the election, and declared a victory for "unity and hope".[24] Cox's widower, Brendan, was pleased that the far-right candidates lost their deposits.[24]

By-election 2016: Batley and Spen[25][26]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Tracy Brabin 17,506 85.8 +42.6
English Democrat Therese Hirst 969 4.8 N/A
BNP David Furness 548 2.7 N/A
Independent Garry Kitchin 517 2.5 N/A
English Independence Corbyn Anti 241 1.2 N/A
Liberty GB Jack Buckby 220 1.1 N/A
Independent Henry Mayhew 153 0.8 N/A
Independent Waqas Ali Khan 118 0.6 N/A
National Front Richard Edmonds 87 0.4 N/A
One Love Ankit Love 34 0.2 N/A
Majority 16,537 81.0 +69.0
Turnout 20,393 25.8 -38.6
Labour hold Swing N/A

2015 resultEdit

General election 2015: Batley and Spen[27][28]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Jo Cox 21,826 43.2 +1.7
Conservative Imtiaz Ameen 15,769 31.2 -1.8
UKIP Aleks Lukic 9,080 18.0 N/A
Liberal Democrat John Lawson 2,396 4.7 -11.1
Green Ian Bullock 1,232 2.4 +1.3
TUSC Dawn Wheelhouse 123 0.2 N/A
Patriotic Socialist Karl Varley 53 0.1 N/A
Majority 6,057 12.0
Turnout 50,479 64.4
Labour hold Swing +1.7

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Labour MP Jo Cox dies after being shot and stabbed as husband urges people to 'fight against the hate' that killed her". The Daily Telegraph. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Batley by-election to be on 20 October". BBC News. 15 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  3. ^ Stone, Jon (17 June 2016). "Jo Cox death: Parties stand down in killed Labour MP's seat as Corbyn and Cameron call for unity". The Independent. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Major parties will not contest Jo Cox's seat". Yorkshire Post. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  5. ^ Withnall, Adam (21 June 2016). "Jo Cox 'died for her political views', says husband Brendan Cox in first interview". The Independence. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Jo Cox death: Labour opens Batley & Spen by-election selection". BBC News. BBC. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Jane Thomas, Labour, Keighley". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  8. ^ Halliday, Josh (19 September 2016). "Former actor Tracy Brabin is frontrunner to win Jo Cox's seat". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Soap star Tracy Brabin to stand in Jo Cox by-election". BBC News. BBC. 23 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  10. ^ Perraudin, Frances (30 September 2016). "Tracy Brabin: 'I hope I can build on Jo Cox's legacy'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  11. ^ "English Democrats put up candidate to fight for Jo Cox's seat". Batley and Birstall News. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  12. ^ Booth, Phil (18 July 2016). "English Democrats to contest by-election for Jo Cox's Batley & Spen seat with "pro-leave" candidate". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d Lavigeur, Nick (29 September 2016). "Who are the candidates in the Batley and Spen by-election?". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Jo Cox: Former BNP politician Jack Buckby to contest by-election for murdered MP's Batley and Spen seat". The Independent. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  15. ^ "View registration - The Electoral Commission". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  16. ^ "View registration - The Electoral Commission". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  17. ^ Gordon, Tom (28 August 2016). "Party's anti-Indyref slogan rejected as "offensive"". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  18. ^ "Jo Cox: Lib Dems and Ukip will not contest Batley and Spen by-election | Metro News". 17 June 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  19. ^ Glover, Chloe (5 August 2016). "UKIP member to stand as independent in Batley and Spen by-election". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  20. ^ "Shipley". BBC News. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Election results for Batley West". Kirklees Council. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  22. ^ Joshi, Amita (12 April 2016). "London Mayor hopeful Ankit Love lives up to his name as musical past uncovered in romantic pop music video". Get West London. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  23. ^ a b Gildea, Samantha (21 October 2016). "Batley and Spen by-election: Labour's Tracy Brabin elected as new MP". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Jo Cox's husband welcomes lost deposits of far-right candidates". The Guardian. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  25. ^ Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council "Statement of Persons Nominated and Notice of Poll"
  26. ^ "Election results for Batley and Spen". Kirklees Council. Archived from the original on 22 October 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  27. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  28. ^ "Batley & Spen". BBC News. Retrieved 13 May 2015.