Paul Nuttall: 'I envisage that by June the next MP for Hartlepool will be for UKIP'

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall declared that Hartlepool is a seat his party can win when he visited the town as part of his campaign.

The party leader met with fellow UKIP members at The Cosmopolitan Hotel and The Ship as he made a visit to show support for local candidate Tom Cassidy.

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall was in Hartlepool today.

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall was in Hartlepool today.

Speaking to the Mail he said he felt confident Hartlepool was a seat that UKIP could win.

He said: "I am here today because this has been in the diary for weeks.

"We are fighting a by-election here on May 4, which we're confident we will win and that will take our Hartlepool Council number up to seven.

"And, obviously, Hartlepool beyond May 4 will be a target for UKIP in the general election and it will take a 4% swing for UKIP to take a seat.

"And what we will do is campaign hard."

Mr Nuttall said that the town is one of his party's key seats - and that he sees a UKIP MP in Hartlepool's future.

Labour MP Iain Wright, who announced earlier this month that he was resigning, had represented Hartlepool for more than 10 years.

Mr Nuttall continued: "It always helps when there is no incumbent, because it means that the people coming into this will be a new candidate. Hartlepool is one of our key seats.

"I envisage that by June the next MP for Hartlepool will be for UKIP."

When asked what his party can bring to the town, he said the party can bring change.

"What we can do is bring a breath of fresh air and campaign hard to ensure that Theresa May does not backslide on our fisheries, to ensure that the fishing industry returns to Hartlepool in a big way," he continued.

"Of course, we connect with the people of Hartlepool in a big way with Brexit, as 70% of people voted to leave the EU on national issues.

"We want to cut the foreign aid budget to ensure that our money is spent on our own people.

"We want to cut immigration back to sensible levels."

He continued: "We have a good strong branch here, we have a history in the council chamber which I think is very important as well, because I think if you are going to win a seat you have got to show people that you are competent and prepared to work hard at a local level. I think we have done that already.

"But, equally, as I said, if you look, we had 70% of people who voted to leave the EU, the Labour party who are confused on this issue, nobody knows what their policy is."

Mr Nuttall added that a vote for the Conservative Party is a "complete waste of a vote" and put that his party's success in Hartlepool is down to having a "great branch" and "great people" who take local elections seriously.

He said he believed the gateway to Westminster was town halls and announced that his message to Hartlepool was "vote for change".

The leader added: "We will be a breath of fresh air for this area and we will stand up for you in the House of Commons time and time again to ensure that the government doesn't backslide on Brexit."