AN MP has hailed Labour’s win in the Batley and Spen by-election as a moment of “huge pride and poignancy.”

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade, said he was “pleased” for the residents living in the West Yorkshire constituency and for the newly elected Kim Leadbeater.

The seat was won with a majority of just 323 – down from the 3,525 vote cushion the party had in 2019 – but the result was a surprise after polls put the Conservatives in the lead with Labour insiders fearing the worst.

The Argus: Peter Kyle said the win was a moment of "huge pride"Peter Kyle said the win was a moment of "huge pride"

The result means Ms Leadbeater now represents the seat previously held by her sister Jo Cox, who was murdered in the constituency in 2016.

Mr Kyle told The Argus: “I’m so pleased for residents in Batley and Spen, they’ve woken up to an MP that cares deeply about their community and will be an advocate that brings people together to overcome challenges.

“Kim’s parents are very much in my thoughts too. They lost Jo Cox in terrible circumstances and saw Kim, Jo’s sister, go through terrible abuse during the campaign.

The Argus: Kim Leadbeater and Labour leader Sir Kier StarmerKim Leadbeater and Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer

“They brought up two formidable daughters and this must be a moment of huge pride but also poignancy and emotion.”

Ms Leadbeater secured the seat with 13,296 votes, with Tory Ryan Stephenson on 12,973 and George Galloway – who had targeted Labour voters and campaigned to topple Sir Keir – in third with 8,264.

Lloyd Russell Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown, said he was “delighted” to welcome Kim Leadbeater to parliament next week but suggested that the win should not be taken as a reversal of fortune for Labour.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “It was so close, too close, but a win is a win and after a dirty campaign by her opponents, Kim and Batley can be proud that they and hope won out over fear.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer hailed the “fantastic result” for the “brilliant and brave” Ms Leadbeater after a contest marred by allegations of dirty tricks and violence.

Ms Leadbeater said she was “absolutely delighted that the people of Batley and Spen have rejected division and they voted for hope”.

The Argus: George GallowayGeorge Galloway

The Batley and Spen contest saw clashes between Mr Galloway’s Workers Party and Labour supporters.

The most controversial arguments centred on the parties’ stance on international issues, including Kashmir and Palestine, as they battled to secure votes in the area’s Asian communities.

Labour activists said they were pelted with eggs and kicked on the campaign trail at the weekend and West Yorkshire Police said an 18-year-old man from Batley was arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with an attack on canvassers.

Mr Galloway said he would take legal action to get the result set aside, claiming his election effort had been damaged by a “false statement” that he had laughed while Ms Leadbeater was abused on the campaign trail.

“The whole election campaign was dominated by lazy and false tropes about our campaign, about the thousands of people that voted for us, about their motives for doing so, in a way which defamed them as much as it defamed me,” he said.

“So on multiple grounds we will apply to the courts for this election result to be set aside.”

The result will offer some breathing space to Sir Keir amid speculation about a possible leadership challenge in Westminster.