Keir Starmer says 'Labour is coming home' after by-election win
Keir Starmer has claimed that Labour is "back" after the party's by-election win in Batley and Spen, invoking the spirit of Blair and New Labour as he declared that "Labour is coming home."
On Friday morning, the Labour leader arrived in Batley after his party pulled of a minor upset by retaining the seat in the face of strong Tory and Galloway challenges.
And, bathing in the glory of Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater's narrow 323-vote win, Starmer told reporters: "We're gonna fight all the way, every inch of the way. And we're going to win that battle. We've got to fight that. But Labour is back. This is just the start; I want many more days like this. Labour is coming home."
The same slogan of "Labour is coming home" was used by Tony Blair at the 1996 Labour Party conference - a reference to the absolute tune that is 'Three Lions,' which was released in the same year in the buildup to Euro 1996.
In the lead up to the by-election, opinion polls had suggested that Labour was set to lose the seat to the Tories in what would have been a crushing blow to Labour and Keir Starmer's leadership.
However, Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater - the sister of murdered MP Jo Cox who had been the MP for the seat before her death in 2016 - managed to come out on top, ahead of the Conservatives and former MP George Galloway, who stood for the Worker's Party at this election.
Starmer said: "Everybody knows Kim, however they vote, they all know Kim because of what she's put in – she's of her community, she's for her community, she's got integrity, she believes in truth and honesty and in bringing people together. And that is exactly what I want for our Labour party, the values of our Labour Party.
"She will be a fantastic member of Parliament for Batley and Spen, a really fantastic member. I was elected into parliament on the same day as Jo Cox and we entered Parliament together, and there isn't a day when we all don't miss Jo. But Kim, she would be so proud to see you today, so proud to see you as a member of parliament."