Bookies install Conservatives as early favourites to oust Labour following Hartlepool MP Mike Hill's resignation
A leading bookmaker has made the Conservative Party the early favourites to win the Hartlepool by-election following the sudden resignation of Labour MP Mike Hill.
Coral has made the Tories odds-on favourites to win the upcoming by-election at 1-2 with Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour at 13-8 second favourites to retain the seat.
Prices for other parties have still to be revealed.
Coral’s John Hill said after Mr Hill’s shock departure on March 16: “Labour have won every election in Hartlepool since this seat was first contested in 1974.
"However, our betting suggests the Conservatives could break that stronghold in this by-election in what would be a huge blow for Keir Starmer.”
The town’s last Conservative MP served the former Hartlepools constituency between 1959-64.
Commander John Kerans, who did not seek re-election at the 1964 count, was a former Royal Navy officer whose exploits during the Chinese Civil War inspired 1957 movie Yangtse Incident: The Story of HMS Amethyst.
He was portrayed by Dambusters star Richard Todd and succeeded at Westminster by Labour stalwart Ted Leadbitter.
The forthcoming poll will end the longest wait for a by-election on record.
On March 5, a total of 582 days passed since voters last went to the polls in a Westminster by-election – a gap that is unprecedented in post-war history, according to analysis by the PA news agency.
The previous record was 581 days, which was the period of time between the Ogmore by-election on February 14, 2002, and the Brent East by-election on September 18, 2003.
A date has still to be confirmed although one possibility is Thursday, May 6, to coincide with local council elections.