Kim Leadbeater MP says she ‘never’ holds open surgeries after sister’s murder

Kim Leadbeater said she will “never” see constituents without an appointment after how her sister Jo Cox and Tory MP Sir David Amess were brutally murdered.

The Batley and Spen MP said holding open surgeries to which constituents can freely attend without booking was “not the way of doing this job safely”.

The Labour politician won the West Yorkshire seat her sister had once held during a by-election in 2021.

Ms Cox was killed by Thomas Mair, a fanatic with far-right views, after he shot and stabbed her multiple times as she arrived for a constituency surgery in June 2016.

Great Get Together
Kim Leadbeater’s sister Jo Cox was murdered while on her way to meet constituents (Jo Cox Foundation/PA)

In 2021, Sir David, who had been the long-serving MP for Southend West, was stabbed repeatedly by terrorist Ali Harbi Ali, who posed as a constituent  during a surgery held in Leigh-on-Sea.

Speaking to GB News, Ms Leadbeater said: “For lots of MPs, things around engagement with the public changed after Jo was killed.

“Some MPs still do open surgeries. I don’t and I never will.

“People in Batley and Spen fully respect and understand that. I think unfortunately, because of what happened to Sir David Amess, other MPs have reviewed it in light of that.”

The 46-year-old said she does meet voters in person to discuss issues but “it’s all prearranged”.

Other correspondence takes place via telephone calls and by email, she explained.

She added: “I kind of get it where some people will say, ‘Well I want to be accessible to my public and all the rest of it’ — but then look at what can happen.

“And let’s pray that it never happens again.

Sir David Amess funeral
Sir David Amess died after being repeatedly stabbed during a constituency surgery (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“But it’s happened twice now, and that for me is enough to know that that is not the way of doing this job safely.”

Ms Leadbeater said she is “always out and about in the constituency” but revealed that she carries three alarms to help safeguard against the risk of attack.

She told presenter and former Labour MP Gloria De Piero some of the alarms were linked to the police.

“It is weird that that’s now what my life looks like,” she told the broadcaster.

“But equally, I’d rather have them than not have them, because the last thing I want is for my parents, partner or family and friends to get that phone call that no one should ever have to get.”

In the interview, which is due to be broadcast on Sunday as part of the Gloria Meets series, Ms Leadbeater said MPs had “come to accept” the volume of abuse they receive both in person and online.

She continued: “I think that’s a really dangerous place to be in.

“It shouldn’t come with the job. It shouldn’t come with any job.”