image captionSir Keir told party activists Kim Leadbeater (R) would be a “fantastic” MP

Sir Keir Starmer has declared “Labour is back” after the party held on at the Batley and Spen by-election.

The Labour leader headed to the West Yorkshire constituency to celebrate Kim Leadbeater’s narrow 323-vote win.

He said it was a victory for “hope over division, and decency over hatred”, after a bitter campaign, and “just the start” for Labour.

Ms Leadbeater will now represent the seat previously held by her sister Jo Cox, who was murdered there in 2016.

The result will come as a relief to Sir Keir, who has been under pressure recently following recent election defeats for his party.

Sir Keir hailed her “incredible courage” in standing for the seat.