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What to expect as Labour make their pick for West Yorkshire Mayor

15th December 2020 By Matt Joy
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West Yorkshire Labour members have picked their candidate for Mayor and it is Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Corrie alumna. Labour expect to win in West Yorkshire. So what can we expect from their candidate and how a potential Mayor Brabin could shape up?

Last Friday Tracy Brabin was announced as Labour’s candidate for West Yorkshire Mayor in 2021. Ms Brabin won against Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe and Huddersfield Lawyer Hugh Goulbourne in a strong contest.

Why did she win?

A combination of reasons. Tracy has name recognition, both as a former actor and an MP which grants political credentials. Tracy also campaigned really well to Labour members with a pitch centred around not being a ‘typical politician’, a campaign message we all know can be a vote winner.

Tracy was the first Labour candidate out of the blocks, setting out her stall in the Yorkshire Post and establishing herself as a frontrunner with clout, securing key endorsements from key trade unions – not to mention Dr Who star Jodie Whittaker.

By all reports Tracy was quick to engage members electronically via texts and mailshots – clearly with a strong team behind her who know how to campaign in these COVID times. This bodes well for the future as the full campaign gets underway.

What can we expect from Brabin?

A strong media campaign – Brabin is already pitching to voters on rebuilding the economy post COVID via a job creation taskforce and prioritising social housing.

Brabin weaves political narrative through her own life experiences – on her childhood in social housing, to accessibility when she struggled at rail stations following an injury earlier in the year. Brabin is also a big supporter of creative and cultural industries as well as adult learning, so expect these to feature heavily in stump speeches.

Will Brabin win?

Probably – West Yorkshire remains a Labour heartland despite their poor general election performance, and the Tories are notably quiet, likely having elected most of their talented regional politicians in 2019.

A strong social media campaign will be key as social distancing lingers into the spring. Team Brabin’s operation is slick and her key campaigning issues fit well in the region – transport, jobs and housing.

We await the Tory candidate, but it is safe to say that having selected their candidate, Labour are on the front foot in this vital election campaign for West Yorkshire.