Hartlepool campaign to prevent sex offenders standing for public office backed by council
A Hartlepool campaign to change laws to prevent sex offenders being able to stand for public office is gaining momentum.
Sarah Gate, who was born and still lives in Hartlepool started a petition after a candidate in the May 6 by-election admitted he has a conviction for voyeurism.
Since launching in late April, the petition has received almost 33,000 signatures and a motion to stop registered sex offenders from standing for public office has been tabled by Hartlepool Borough Council.
In an incredibly rare outcome, the motion has been signed by all 36 councillors and Sarah has said it stands a chance of being sent to Westminster if it’s passed during the meeting on Thursday, July 8.
Sarah, 33, said: "It’s a bit overwhelming really to have a campaign get so much encouragement from so many people.
"I feel like Hartlepool has really got behind this campaign, both in terms of the people who live here and our actual politicians.
"I will be at that meeting and hopefully we’ll see that motion passed and then sent to the government.
"It’s fantastic to have the support of so many councillors getting behind it and saying this is something that we all agree with as well.”
Hartlepool’s newly-elected MP Jill Mortimer is expected to attend the meeting as well.
Digital marketing strategist Sarah added: “It feels like bringing everybody together for a common cause.
"As a woman, it’s great to see so much support for something that is predominantly a women’s issue.
"It feels great to have so much clout behind something that is an issue that affects so many women.
"For me, as a girl from Hartlepool, it really makes me feel like women and girls from a small town where we do feel neglected and ignored a lot of the time, we can do anything if we really set our minds to it.
"It is a really exciting time.”
Christopher Killick, an independent candidate for the Hartlepool Parliamentary by-election, admitted he is a registered sex offender after being convicted in London for voyeurism last year.
Sarah said it had highlighted a nationwide issue.
She said: "Registered sex offenders can’t become doctors, they can’t become teachers, so how is it possible that they can become MPs.”