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Jo Cox's sister has been chosen as the Labour candidate in the constituency the murdered MP once represented.

Kim Leadbeater will contest a by-election for the Batley and Spen seat on a date yet to be confirmed.

The election was prompted by the resignation as Batley MP of Tracy Brabin, who was recently elected as West Yorkshire's first regional mayor.

Ms Brabin was voted in as an MP in October 2016 after Ms Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed by a right-wing extremist.

Speaking after she was chosen by the constituency Labour Party, Ms Leadbeater said she was "overwhelmed and humbled".

'Strong northern voices'
During the selection meeting, Ms Leadbeater told party members she was the candidate the Conservatives "feared".

She added: "I'm a proud Yorkshirewoman and have lived in Batley and Spen all my life. I have a deep understanding of the area, its people and some of the challenges it faces.

"I feel passionately about the strength there is in such a diverse constituency."

Jo Cox
IMAGE COPYRIGHTPA
image captionMother-of-two Jo Cox was murdered while doing constituency work in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on 16 June 2016
Ms Leadbeater, 45, who has received backing from Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, also spoke about the importance of "strong northern voices" representing their communities in Westminster.

She added: "Nobody should be in any doubt about the scale of the task we have to keep Batley and Spen Labour."

It will be seen as a key test for the party, which lost the Hartlepool by-election to the Conservatives earlier this month.

Ms Brabin held Batley and Spen for Labour with a reduced majority in the general election of 2019 - down to 3,525 from 8,961 in 2017. The Conservative Party's candidate came second.

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Ms Leadbeater's "roots in the community will make her a fantastic champion".

He added: "Batley and Spen holds an important place in the Labour Party's heart. And Kim's work to bring people together, just as her sister Jo Cox did, has inspired us all."

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