'Cheap photo opportunities' - Hartlepool by-election candidate's view on Labour and Tory leader visits

A Hartlepool mum and businesswoman standing to become MP has slammed recent visits from Labour and Conservative leaders as “cheap photo opportunities”.

By Nic Marko
Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 10:56 am

Samantha Lee, an independent candidate in the Parliamentary by-election on May 6, has claimed neither “truly care” about the town.

In recent weeks both Sir Keir Starmer and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have visited Hartlepool to support their candidates ahead of May 6’s by-election.

However Miss Lee, 45, said: “This town has turned into a political circus once again.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, left, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson during recent visits to Hartlepool.

“If these people believed in Hartlepool, why haven’t they been here before now?

“They have no true affiliation with Hartlepool and they don’t understand the issues.”

She feels “they just want a seat in Westminster”, adding: “Don’t be conned by the photo opportunities.”

The former Brierton School pupil, who has run a successful PR firm in the town for the past 15 years, pledged to bring money and opportunities to Hartlepool if elected.

Samantha Lee is standing as an independent candidate in the May 6 Hartlepool by-election.

The former journalist said: “I know what this town needs and I won’t stop until we get it.

“I will report from Westminster each week on what goes on and I will let them know that Hartlepool will no longer accept the scraps they are serving us at the moment.”

Hartlepool Labour responded by stating the party has had an “energetic, high profile campaign” speaking to organisations and thousands of residents, which visits from national party figures form an important part of.

They also stressed their candidate Dr Paul Williams is “working on the frontline in the battle against Covid in Hartlepool and has a proven commitment to the people of the town.”

Hartlepool goes to the polls to elect a new MP on May 6.

A spokesperson said: “Visits form a key part of our local campaign and allow local media and local people to hold us to account.

“That’s a really important part of the democratic process and helps people to make up their minds on who to vote for.

“Dr Paul is working hard during this campaign to speak to as many people as possible and will work hard if he is elected next week.”

A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “During this campaign, Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer has invited a raft of senior cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to discuss her plans to build Hartlepool back better after 57 years of Labour MPs taking the town for granted.”

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Read more: The full list of all 16 candidates in the Hartlepool by-election

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