HOPE BEATS HATE; Labour by-election joy.
Byline: RACHEL WEARMOUTH in Batley and Spen, and DAN BLOOM
KEIR Starmer has hailed Labour's win in the Batley and Spen by-election as a victory for hope over hate.
The party's candidate Kim Leadbeater won by 323 votes over the Tories after a controversial campaign.
Mr Starmer said in the West Yorkshire constituency: "Labour is coming home."
The party leader added: "The battle here [was] a battle of hope over division, and decency and integrity over hatred.
"Kim has integrity... Contrast Kim with the Prime Minister who basks in... untruths." He also blasted the "lies... hostility and poison" during the campaign in which Labour canvassers were assaulted and Ms Lead- beater was harassed. Labour has held the seat since 1997 but was expected to lose the by-election.
It was seen as a referendum on Mr Starmer's leadership.
Ms Leadbeater said: "I am delighted people... voted for hope." Her sister Jo Cox was the area's MP when she was murdered in 2016.
Workers Party candidate George Galloway condemned those who harassed Ms Leadbeater, and he denied sowing or
Galloway. Below, Leadbeater supporting division during the campaign.
Tory Party chairwoman Amanda Milling suggested the Matt Hancock scandal might have played a part in the result, saying: "It came up on the doorstep."
firstname.lastname@example.org @REWEARMOUTH VOICE OF MIRROR: PAGE 8
RIVAL Galloway. Below, Starmer & Leadbeater denied
SISTERS Ms Leadbeater. Inset, Jo Cox