news

Tracy Brabin faces 'number of hurdles' to become next Batley and Spen MP

TV actress widely tipped to be next Batley and Spen MP following the tragic death of Jo Cox

Tracy Brabin watches as murdered MP Jo Cox's cortege passes through Market Place, Batley

TV actress Tracy Brabin may have been widely tipped to stand as Labour candidate for Jo Cox’s constituency of Batley and Spen - but there is no guarantee she will be successful.

The 55-year-old star, who has a huge list of TV and writing credits to her name including Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, grew up in Batley and attended Heckmondwike Grammar School – the same one which Jo attended.

The married mother-of-two died after being attacked outside a constituency surgery in Birstall in June.

The highly personable actress has previously canvassed for the party in the area and accompanied Jo on a visit to Heckmondwike Grammar in September, 2014.

In a tweet, Ms Brabin said she was “thinking about” standing but added she need to “talk to the people of Batley and Spen”.

But before she gets to become the prospective Parliamentary Labour candidate for the seat there are a number of hurdles for her to cross.

A Labour party insider explained the protocol behind how the decision will be made.

Former Coronation Street and Emmerdale star Tracy Brabin canvassing for Labour in Lowerhouses in 2012. Tracy and Sadia Rehman pictured with Louisa Walker and her daughter Taylor (7), of Oaken Bank Crescent, Lowerhouses

He said: “Labour’s National Executive Committee, (NEC), are calling all the shots on this one.

“At some point shortly, the party nationally, will issue an advert that we are looking for a candidate.

“It’s advertised on internal party websites and internal party mailing lists. It will become known through Labour Party blogs.

“This could happen at any time, it could be next week that they announce it and candidates will be able to put their names forward.

“A ‘long list’ will be created and some of these who apply will be interviewed, however the shortlist will probably be three or four candidates as past experience suggests.

Emmerdale star Tracy Brabin tipped to stand for Jo Cox's constituency Batley & Spen

“Once this shortlist is done the Batley and Spen Constituency Labour Party will hold a hustings, (traditionally convened on a Saturday).

“Each candidate has the chance to make a statement and take questions from the floor, from local party members, the Co-op Party and some trade unions.

“A secret ballot will be held and then the successful candidate will be announced.”

As regards the actual by-election itself he said this would be up to Labour’s Chief Whip, Doncaster MP, Rosie Winterton.

The earliest she could move the writ would be September 5 when Parliament returns for a short spell or October when Parliament returns for a full session.

If she is successful in navigating all these hurdles then Ms Brabin will be the overwhelming favourite to retain the seat given that the major parties, including the Conservatives, Lib Dems, Greens and Ukip, have said they will not contest it.

View full mobile page