Politician Kim Leadbeater says she must “go with my heart” ahead of boundary changes in the next general election

The Labour MP for Batley and Spen will be asked to put herself forward for one of two new seats, Dewsbury and Batley or Spen Valley. 

It comes as the number of constituencies in England increases from 533 to 543.

Ms Leadbeater, who is the sister of the late former MP Jo Cox, became an MP in May 2021.

She said: “I was deeply disappointed when the decision was made to split up the constituency of Batley and Spen at the next general election.

"It is an area which I have a profound personal connection and I love representing, and I will continue to do so to the very best of my ability until the election whenever it comes.

“I have thought long and hard about which of the new seats to put myself forward for. It has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

“Batley is a wonderful place and I have put a huge amount of effort into plans to breathe new life into the town centre. By working together, local people, businesses, charities and community organisations have done so much to build a strong and cohesive community.

“The Spen Valley is also a special place with its spread of fantastic towns and villages, each with their own identity and character, although many of the challenges across Batley and Spen are the same, whether it’s tackling crime, dangerous driving, parking and anti-social behaviour or the need to improve access to GPs, dentists, and the transport infrastructure.

“I am Spen Valley born and bred and it has always been important to represent the place I am from and the people I live amongst and have done all my life.

“It is a privilege to be an MP because, if the job is done properly, you can make a real difference to people, communities and indeed the country. Many of my political colleagues have said that the choice is obvious, that I should go for whatever is the ‘safest’ seat.

“But that’s not me. This is not just a political decision – it’s very personal. I promised at the by-election that I wanted to change politics and not let politics change me. I have to go with my heart and do what I think is right for me and my family, and for the area. So after much soul searching I have decided to put myself forward to be the Labour candidate for Spen Valley at the next general election.

“Between now and then I will remain fully committed to representing the whole of Batley and Spen.”