The Conservative Party and UKIP in Hartlepool have both called on each other to withdraw their General Election Candidates.
Conservative Group Leader on Hartlepool Borough Council Councillor Ray Martin-Wells wrote to town UKIP Chairman Councillor John Tennant to ask UKIP to get their candidate Phillip Broughton to stand down.
Coun Martin-Wells said an internet poll indicates UKIP’s chances of winning the election are “extremely low”.
But Coun Tennant hit back accusing the Conservatives of “cynical electioneering of the worst kind” and called on the Conservatives to withdraw their candidate Carl Jackson.
Coun Martin-Wells referred to election prediction website Electoral Calculus which predicted the Conservative’s share of the vote in Hartlepool would be 35.1%, one per cent more than Labour, with UKIP on 15.3%.
He said: “Following on from UKIP’s decision not to stand in Middlesbrough South, Tynemouth and Berwick, we would respectfully ask you to withdraw your parliamentary candidate in Hartlepool for the forthcoming General Election on 8th June 2017.” Coun Martin-Wells added: “Only the Conservatives can deliver Brexit and our own parliamentary candidate Carl Jackson was a huge part of the Leave campaign team, having previously worked alongside David Davis (Brexit Minister)”.
Coun Tennant replied saying UKIP are the official opposition to Labour in Hartlepool and the party needs just a 4% swing to win the seat.
He said: “Ray Martin-Wells wrote to me and asked us to step down from the election and I said no absolutely not, because if you look at the facts it is the Conservatives who should be standing down if anybody was.
“It’s clear UKIP is the opposition in Hartlepool, we are far stronger than the Conservatives.”
In his letter to Coun Martin-Wells, Coun Tennant added: “UKIP have outperformed the Conservatives at every set of elections, of every kind, since 2013.
“At the recent Mayoral elections, UKIP’s vote in Hartlepool was greater than the Conservatives vote.
“It is absolutely clear from real elections that it is the Conservative Party that should step down in Hartlepool.”
Labour’s candidate in the General Election is Mike Hill who replaces Iain Wright who is stepping down after 13 years.
The Liberal Democrat candidate is Andy Hagon.