General Election 2019: Labour's Mike Hill retains Hartlepool seat with reduced majority
Labour MP Mike Hill held his seat in Hartlepool despite challenges from both The Brexit Party and the Conservatives.
A busy Mill House Leisure Centre eagerly awaited the results, which culminated with Mr Hill winning with a majority of 3,595, less than half his winning margin in 2017 of 7,650.
It was in Hartlepool where Nigel Farage and The Brexit Party announced it would not stand candidates in seats won by the Conservatives in the last election, just days after it was announced party chairman Richard Tice would stand in the town.
Conservative candidate Stefan Houghton also had a strong showing in Hartlepool, picking up the second most votes, narrowly ahead of The Brexit Party.
But Mr Hill, previously a union official, said he was delighted to come out on top following what he called a ‘tough fight’.
He said: “I am dead chuffed, I am really pleased to be re-elected.
“It has been a tough fight, Hartlepool really has been under the spotlight, particularly when it comes to the Brexit issue.”
He acknowledged the difficulties the party has faced nationwide in the election but added he is dedicated to working for the people in Hartlepool.
He said: “Labour is going to have to take a long hard look in the mirror and work out what went wrong in the country.
“But for me, the mission is to crack on and look after the interests of my constituents.”
The Brexit Party campaigned heavily in the town prior to the election and Mr Tice said the results have been a success for the party on a larger scale despite not coming out on top in Hartlepool.
Mr Tice said: “Labour has held the seat for over 50 years, the reality is The Brexit Party across the whole of the North has had a massive impact.
“If it wasn’t for The Brexit Party we would now be in the middle of a second referendum campaign and Theresa May would still be Prime Minister, the country has moved on.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the country, the country has now got certainty and stability and people can invest.”
Prior to the final results, Conservative Mr Houghton had said he felt residents were “fed up of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party”, adding he felt he ‘definitely would have won’ if not for The Brexit Party standing.
Liberal Democrat Mr Hagon, who also stood in 2017, picked up 1,696 votes, compared to 746 last time out.
Independent Joe Bousfield, 21, picked up 911 votes, with Kevin Cranney, Socialist Labour Party candidate, gaining 494.
The voter turnout was 58.08% down slightly from 59.2% in the 2017 General Election.
Joe Bousfield (Independent) 911;
Kevin Cranney (Socialist Labour) 494;
Andy Hagon (Liberal Democrats) 1,696;
Mike Hill (Labour) 15,464;
Stefan Houghton (Conservative) 11,869;
Richard Tice (The Brexit Party) 10,603.