Labor narrowly won the Batley and Spen by-elections, retaining the West Yorkshire seat after a hotly contested campaign.
Labor won 13,296 votes, Tories registered 12,973, according to official results. Kim Leadbeater defeated Ryan Stephenson, the Conservative candidate, by 323 votes. George Galloway, representing the Workers’ Party of Great Britain, came third with 8,264 votes.
The result, which Labor feared might not go its way, was proclaimed around 5:25 a.m. on Friday after two “group checks” – not a full recount, but where the stacks of votes are scanned for irregularities. The result eases the pressure on Labor leader Keir Starmer after a humiliating defeat at Hartlepool in May.
On Friday morning, Starmer said he was congratulating himself on the “fantastic result for the brilliant and courageous” Kim Leadbeater.
The tense campaign had become mired in accusations of bashing and intimidation tactics. He fell five years after MP Jo Cox, Leadbeater’s older sister, was murdered in the constituency by a far-right terrorist.