Labour mocked over pro-EU candidate in Hartlepool by-election – ‘Not rocket science!’

Labour: Baroness Chakrabarti discusses Hartlepool candidate

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Conservative MP for Ashfield, Lee Anderson, hit out at Labour over their choice of candidate for the by-election. Dr Paul Williams, who was against Brexit and backed a second referendum, is standing in the constituency in Labour’s heartlands, which voted to Leave by 69.6 percent.

Mr Anderson told “I would say Labour have chosen somebody that’s got very little in common with the Labour voters of Hartlepool. It’s a mystery.”

The Tory MP, who won his Ashfield seat in the so-called “red wall” in the 2019 general election, added: “The Conservative Party got it right.

“We put local candidates in that spoke like people from the area, have the same kind of ideas, principles, thoughts.

“And it worked, it’s not rocket science.

“An area like Hartlepool where there was a 70 percent Leave vote, for them to put somebody in who wants to see us Remain, it’s not clever politics.”

The by-election will be a major test of whether Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer can connect with voters in the northern “red wall” after so much of the party’s heartlands fell to Boris Johnson in 2019, with Brexit a major factor.

Former coal miner Mr Anderson warned the Tories will “fight” for Hartlepool, which has had a Labour MP since 1964.

He said: “At the last general election, I think if the Brexit Party had not stood we might have taken that seat.

“We are in for a scrap to get that seat, we want to fight for it.

“I would suggest to anyone in that area who is making their mind up which way to vote to have a look at Teeside, have a look at the North East, look at what the new Conservative MPs are doing for those areas already.”

Earlier this month, Sir Keir attempted to move on from Brexit as he defended his party’s candidate in the Hartlepool by-election.

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The Labour leader said: “We have left the EU, neither Paul nor I are suggesting a people’s vote, we have left the EU, we have got a deal, we have got to make it work and we don’t want to rejoin.

“That’s the position of the Labour Party.

“We can’t go on fighting yesterday’s wars.

“The referendum was five years ago now, we don’t want further division.

“We accept we’ve left, we’ve got a deal, let’s make it work.”

Dr Paul was previously Stockton South’s MP but lost his seat in the 2019 general election to the Tories.

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