Kim Leadbeater MP: Emotional final Batley and Spen Labour party meeting
Kim Leadbeater MP writes: It’s also an important moment for me because we now have to reorganise the party to reflect the new constituencies that have been drawn up in time for the general election expected next year.
We had an emotional final meeting of the ‘Batley and Spen’ local Labour party. There was a great turnout of people of all ages with some lovely stories from the long and proud history of the seat that was first created in 1983. We’ve had more than our fair share of elections and by-elections and they haven’t always been in the best of circumstances, but time and again we’ve shown how resilient our community is. Those who have tried to divide us have never succeeded.
‘Batley and Spen’ will always have a special place in my and my family’s hearts, and of course I remain the MP until the election comes, but I’m also now the candidate for the new ‘Spen Valley’ seat and I’m enjoying getting to know more and more people in Mirfield and Kirkheaton which will be important parts of the new constituency.
I know many people are very concerned about the difficult decisions the Council are having to take to avoid a big overspend next year, and I share those concerns. I’m pleased the new leadership are being very honest with residents about the challenges and are doing whatever they can to preserve services and amenities that we all rely on.
I’ve been having a lot of meetings about Batley Sport and Tennis Centre and Cleckheaton Town Hall, for example, as well as care homes and other vital services. I’m a very practical person and, while as MP I have no control over Council budgets, I’m doing all I can to find workable solutions to retain as much of what we have as possible. In the meantime I hope people will take part in the public consultations that are now underway.
I’ve really enjoyed getting round and meeting some fantastic people over the past few weeks. I’m passionate about sport and physical activity, and it was a pleasure to visit Spenborough Swimming Club, the Training Cave in Birstall, Hop On cycling club in Cleckheaton and to hold a sport and health event at Batley Bulldogs with Rugby League Cares. I also love going into schools and both Holy Spirit in Heckmondwike and Headlands in Liversedge made me very welcome.
I had some good conversations at the Mirfield Friendship Group and the Scholes Discussion Group. They put some tough questions to me, quite rightly, which I’m always happy to try and answer. I met the brothers at Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield, and I visited a number of local businesses including PPG in Birstall, Paperland in Cleckheaton, Elements Salon in Heckmondwike and The George Pub in Birkenshaw.
As always, you can contact me and my team on [email protected] or on 01924 975758.