Thursday 14 December 2017

Former Coronation Street actress selected in by-election called following death of Jo Cox

Tracy Brabin. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Tracy Brabin. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire Newsdesk Newsdesk

Former Coronation Street actress Tracy Brabin has been selected as the Labour candidate for the Batley and Spen by-election.

The poll on October 20 follows the death of Labour MP Jo Cox, who was killed in a shocking attack in the constituency in June.

Ms Brabin, who was selected ahead of one other shortlisted candidate, is almost certain to become the next MP for Batley and Spen as the other major parties have all vowed not to field a candidate against Labour.

Ms Brabin was selected by members of the local party following a hustings event with the other shortlisted candidate, Jane Thomas, at a school in Batley, West Yorkshire.

Ms Brabin was born in Batley and worked with Mrs Cox on her campaign to save the town's library.

She played Tricia Armstrong in Coronation Street in the 1990s before appearing as Roxy Drake in EastEnders, and Carole in Emmerdale.

She has also written for shows including Family Affairs, Tracy Beaker and Hollyoaks.

Mrs Cox, who was 41 and had two young children, was shot and stabbed to death on June 16.

Her killing shocked the nation and provoked an outpouring of bewilderment and soul-searching around the world.

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Ukip have said they will not field a candidate in the by-election out of respect for Mrs Cox's memory.

But Labour does not expect the election to be completely uncontested, with Liberty GB and the English Democrats among those promising they will contest the seat.

If they do not, Ms Brabin would expect to automatically take the seat.

Nominations close next week.

Ms Brabin said: "I'm humbled and privileged. Obviously no-one wanted this, but I'm the only person on the ballot paper that can stand up for everyone in Batley and Spen.

"I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone in the constituency and, hopefully, winning their trust.

"I'm hoping people will put party politics to one side and we can work together."

Ms Brabin tweeted: "Jo was my inspiration. I intend to do her proud."

Labour MPs also went on Twitter to congratulate her.

Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, said: "Congratulations @Tracy4MP. Terrible circumstances and impossible to replace Jo but she would want strong representation for constituents."

Liz McInnes, the Heywood and Middleton MP, said: "Congratulations on your selection @Tracy4MP. Wish it could have been in better circumstances but sure Jo would have approved X".

Ilford North's Wes Streeting said: "Jo is irreplaceable, but I have no doubt that @Tracy4MP will be a great MP for Batley & Spen. Congratulations, Tracy."

Press Association

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