Three years ago on July 1st, 2021 I was first elected to the House of Commons as the MP for Batley and Spen. And three days from now I will be on the ballot paper as the Labour candidate for the new constituency of Spen Valley. I have been reflecting on the last three years and also looking forward to the choice we face at the general election.

After my by-election victory, lots of people said to me ‘please don’t ever change who you are’, I said I wanted to change politics, not be changed by it. I hope I haven’t changed, and it is still my ambition to continue to try and change politics. But on July 4th I want to go further. I want to be part of the change our country needs. But that change will only come if people turn out and vote for it – by voting for a Labour Government.

I am standing on my record as someone who has made their mark in Parliament by speaking up many times about the issues local people care about and challenging the government on its dreadful track record, but also as someone who is embedded in our community and has been a visible and pro-active local MP. I hope what I have been able to do over the past three years shows that it does make a difference who you send to Westminster as your MP.

Our political opponents want you to believe there’s no point in coming out to vote for change. They want you to think that voting won’t make a difference. And if that doesn’t work, they are so desperate they will claim Labour is going to win anyway so why bother? Both those arguments are simply untrue.

I know this area. I was born and brought up here and have never lived anywhere else. I know the problems in our communities, because this is my home. I drive on the same roads you do, I see the same levels of crime and anti-social behaviour around me and I know that many people are still struggling with higher bills, prices in the shops, rents and mortgages. Nothing seems to work anymore, whether it’s a reliable bus service or getting an appointment to see a GP or NHS dentist, or provision for children with special educational needs and decent care for the elderly. And it breaks my heart that in 2024 we have got food banks in places like Heckmondwike, Mirfield, Birstall and Cleckheaton. The list goes on.

There are undoubtedly many challenges, but over the past three years, my hard-working team and I have been supporting people across our local area; we have dealt with around 20,000 cases that people have brought to our attention. We can’t solve every problem, but helping people in need is the most gratifying part of the job.

Whilst there are some very satisfying aspects to the job of an MP, one of the most frustrating parts for me over the last three years has been being in opposition. That means knowing what our communities need but getting to the House of Commons and being frustrated in trying to make it happen because the Conservatives are so out of touch with places like this.

But I’m nothing if not hard-working, resourceful and – yes – stubborn. So I’ve used what power and influence I have had as an opposition MP to make a difference wherever I can. That includes securing £12million in levelling up funds for the area – the only MP across the whole of Yorkshire to be successful in that bidding round. It includes working with local residents to block the plans for a monstrous Amazon warehouse in Scholes, and saving Batley Sports and Tennis Centre in Birstall from closure. It involves harnessing the power of our communities, schools, businesses and volunteer groups to run numerous litter picks and community clean-ups to Keep Spen Tidy. And it means working with inspirational individuals like 10-year old Zach Eagling from Hartshead to change the law and prevent disgusting online trolling of people with epilepsy.

I have continued to fight for a fairer funding settlement for local councils. I was horrified when Rishi Sunak said he was proud to have taken money away from deprived areas in the north to give it to places like Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Councils (of all political persuasions) can only do what they can with the money they are given from central government.

But, while I understand the financial pressures Kirklees Council have been under thanks to Tory cuts, when I think they’re wrong I will always say so. I have campaigned against parking charges and the closure of libraries and town halls. Because for me it is the needs of local people that must always come first.

Every town and village across Spen Valley has its own unique identity and people are rightly proud of where they live. It’s a pride I share and take with me whenever I go to London to represent this very special part of Yorkshire. I spend as much time as I can visiting schools, libraries, businesses, sports clubs, voluntary organisations and many other places who all contribute to our local area, speaking to people from all walks of life about their concerns. I am very grateful for the support and encouragement of so many wonderful individuals and groups here in Spen Valley – and I will work with anyone who shares my vision for a strong, prosperous, well-connected community. When others seek to divide us, I will always fight to keep us together, because stronger communities benefit us all.

Democracy is precious. And how you vote next Thursday will make a difference. People in Spen Valley have a choice. And I hope they choose to send a strong, proud, local Yorkshire woman back to Westminster to speak up for our area and work hard for everyone who lives here, and who can be part of a Labour government which can start to deliver the real change our country so desperately needs.

Please join me on Thursday July 4th. Vote for Change. Vote Local. Vote Kim.


Thank you.

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