English Democrats announce candidate for Batley and Spen by-election as Reform UK decide not to stand

The English Democrats party has announced its candidate for the upcoming Batley and Spen by-election.

Thérèse Hirst, who is the deputy chair of the party, will stand in the election on July 1. She came second to Tracy Brabin - who has stepped down from her role after being named West Yorkshire's first metro mayor - in the 2016 by-election when many major parties chose not to stand.

Ms Hirst was the former leader of the Veritas The Brexit Party which was formed by former presenter Robert Kilroy Silk.

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She was born and still lives in Bradford, and also worked in Kirklees as an RE teacher before later going on to study and practice law - something which she says will help her understand the problems in the community.

Thérèse Hirst

She said: "Labour no longer represents ordinary working-class people and has abandoned us to woke extreme-left ideology and has a deep loathing for England and the English.

"And the recent announcements by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove regarding billions of extra infrastructure spending and the use of our NHS England hospitals - where 7 million people are already waiting two years or more for non-urgent elective surgery – is completely unconscionable.

"Scotland has already received £18b from the Treasury for the COVID-19 crisis, has its own responsibility for health and other devolved matters, and meanwhile areas in the North are still waiting for the electrification of the trans-Pennine railway and more than 5,000 constituents live in the most deprived areas in England and has half of adults languishing on universal credit and unemployment benefits.”

Meanwhile, Reform UK has announced it will not stand a candidate in the Batley and Spen by-election in a bid to boost the Conservative Party’s chances of taking the Labour-held seat.

Leader Richard Tice said he hoped a blue victory would bring about a snap general election and “hopefully the final nail in Labour’s coffin”.

Kim Leadbeater is set to stand for Labour, Leeds councillor Ryan Stephenson is standing for the Conservatives, Tom Gordon is to stand for the Liberal Democrats, local engineer Corey Robinson will fight for The Yorkshire Party and Paul Bickerdike is to stand on behalf of the Christian Peoples Alliance.

Paul Halloran, who in 2019 represented the Heavy Woollen District Independents and came third in Batley and Spen with more than 6,000 votes, has opted against standing again.