Most people would struggle to pinpoint Batley and Spen on a map. But the constituency, comprising a number of small towns and villages in the rolling Pennines of West Yorkshire, has made front page news twice in recent years. 

The reasons why have been unmistakably grim.  

In June 2019, Jo Cox, Batley and Spen’s Labour MP was shot and stabbed to death by a far-right extremist outside a library in Birstall, a small market town within her constituency. Her killer, a local resident, shouted “Britain first” as he launched his attack. Cox, 41, was the first sitting MP to be murdered since an IRA bomb killed Ian Now in 1990. An ambitious and popular politician, described as “a beacon for the Labour party’s future”, her death sent shockwaves through the nation.