Hartlepool by-election takes a twist as SDP candidate drafts in a tank for rally ahead of polling day

A former Regimental Sergeant Major took to a tank as he led a rally ahead as part of his by-election campaign.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 4:23 pm

Residents will go to the polls on Thursday, May 6, to vote in Hartlepool’s Member of Parliament following the resignation of Labour’s Mike Hill, which has led to a by-election.

As part of his campaign, he drafted in one of the regiment’s former tanks, a CVRT Sabre, as he made a speech on the Headland to gather support for his “vision for building jobs.”

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David Bettney, the SDP's candidate in the MP by-election for Hartlepool, in the tank used during the event on the Headland.
David Bettney, the SDP's candidate in the MP by-election for Hartlepool, in the tank used during the event on the Headland.

Mr Bettney, from Barnsley, told the Mail he would use his experience in business and running boxing and rugby clubs in the role to tackle antisocial behaviour.

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The full list of 16 candidates in the May 2021 Hartlepool by-election

He plans to set up bonded warehouses around the newly-agreed Free Port on Teesside and encourage manufacturing and more jobs.

In the speech he said he did not believe the Labour or Conservatives would not get the job based on their experience or CVs.

David Bettney addressing people on the Headland as part of his campaign to become the town's new MP.

He said: "If you look at it, would you vote in the farmer from Thirsk or the doctor from Basingstoke? I don’t think you would.

"I think a town like this needs someone like me who grew up as an ABA boxer, grew up on a council estate, who knows what it’s like to be on the edge of antisocial behaviour and probably the wrong side of the law a few times when I was younger.

"But having the outlet of the Army, having the outlet of the boxing and the rugby clubs and being able to go in in life, have a full career in the Army and then spend over 10 years working in the oil and gas industry in the Middle East and building businesses from the ground up, I employ about 600 people and all this has come over 30 years of hard graft and learning.

"I don’t know any of these people know how to do job creation, I don’t think they know how to go into the tough areas.

"I definitely understand their plight and what they need to get onto the straight and narrow.”

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