Deputy party leader Angela Rayner backs Labour candidate Dr Paul Williams on visit to Hartlepool

Angela Rayner says Hartlepool candidate for upcoming parliamentary by-election is ‘deep-rooted within the local community and will hit the ground running’.

Sunday, 21st March 2021, 5:39 pm

The deputy leader of the Labour Party, who visited a Covid vaccination centre in Hartlepool, says their candidate will fight for NHS staff and investment in the town.

The Labour Party has announced Dr Paul Williams will contest the seat in the by-election after Mike Hill’s shock resignation.

Hartlepool has been a red seat since 1964 but the party’s standing took a hit in the most recent elections with Mike Hill’s lead reducing to under 4,000 votes.

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Vicky Holt, Angela Rayner, Dr Paul Williams and Dr Graham Trory
Vicky Holt, Angela Rayner, Dr Paul Williams and Dr Graham Trory

But Ms Rayner, chairman of the Labour Party and shadow first secretary of state, says their candidate will fight for Hartlepool in Westminster.

"We’ve got Dr Paul Williams, an NHS doctor who has been on the frontline in Hartlepool,” she told the Mail.

"He’s been part of the vaccination programme and our candidate is deep-rooted within the local community and will hit the ground running. He will be able to go to Parliament and demand that the Government invest more in our NHS and our NHS workers and skilled jobs in the area.”

Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader and Chair of the Labour Party and Dr Paul Williams, Labour Party candidate for Hartlepool walk through town as they go to visit a covid vaccination centre at Hartlepool Town Hall. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Dr Williams, previously a supporter of a second EU referendum, was MP for Stockton South from 2017 to 2019 and is now standing in a constituency where almost 70% of voters back Brexit.

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"We’re listening to what they said, we know that Brexit was incredibly divisive, I know that people are very angry and it has left very bitter feelings but we have got through the Brexit situation,” said the shadow first secretary of state.

“We are coming out of the European Union and what’s important now is having someone deep-rooted in the community who will bring that prosperity to the future of Hartlepool.”

Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader and Chair of the Labour Party (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

On Sunday, March 21, Lord Peter Mandelson, a former Hartlepool MP, urged the Labour leader needed to begin a review of the party's policies as "he still has the 2019 manifesto around his neck".

In response, Ms Rayner said: “[Sir Keir Starmer] is very clear that he wants to see a secure Britain that looks after our young people, gives them opportunities and takes care of our NHS workers and those who have been on the frontline throughout this pandemic supporting us.”

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