Hartlepool Conservative MP Jill Mortimer defends record after Labour criticism over her 'silence' in Parliament
Hartlepool’s new MP has defended her record since being elected after facing criticism for being “silent” in Parliament and still serving as a councillor in North Yorkshire.
Town Labour chiefs say four months on Mrs Mortimer has not yet spoken in Parliament, submitted any written questions or signed an Early
Day Motion supporting or calling for debates.
They are also calling for her to resign immediately from her role as a councillor on Hambleton District Council and devote herself to Hartlepool after learning she attended a council meeting earlier this month.
Mrs Mortimer says she has been working “tirelessly” for Hartlepool by meeting with the Prime Minister, other ministers and senior local politicians.
She added she has been tackling a large backlog of casework following the resignation of Mike Hill in March.
Anthony Frain, Chair of Hartlepool Constituency Labour Party, said: “It’s deeply worrying that in such a critical period, with local businesses struggling, thousands of Hartlepool households facing welfare cuts, taxes rising for working families, and the furlough scheme soon coming to an end, our MP has yet to speak in parliament on behalf of our town.
"The fact that Mrs Mortimer has however found the time to speak on behalf of her own community in North Yorkshire, as a continuing member of Hambleton district council, simply adds insult to injury.”
Councillor Brenda Harrison, Leader of the Labour Group added: “Hartlepool needs and deserves a full time MP.
"We have so many challenges around jobs, crime, poverty, cuts to services; I just don’t see how Mrs Mortimer can possibly do her job properly if she’s splitting her time with her duties as a councillor in the place where she actually lives.”
Mrs Mortimer said: “When I was elected as Hartlepool’s first Conservative MP since 1964 in May this year, I promised to work tirelessly on behalf of the people of this town and I have done exactly that.
"I have met with the Prime Minister and other senior ministers to put the case for this town forward as we aim to build back better from the pandemic. I have worked with Mayor for Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Steve Turner, Hartlepool councillors and a raft of organisations on a range of issues including services at the town’s hospital, reopening the custody suite and helping us recover from Covid.
“Not only that, I have been tackling a massive backlog of casework left by my Labour predecessor when he walked away from the job of being Hartlepool MP.”
She added: “Throughout Parliament’s recess I have been working diligently right across Hartlepool and I look forward to making my maiden speech in the House of Commons as soon as possible – so far I have been denied by the summer break and Covid restrictions.
“But my first focus will always be on the people of Hartlepool – not Westminster – and I will continue to do all I can to improve the lives of everyone living and working here.”
Mrs Mortimer has said she will step down as a councillor at the next election to save taxpayers the cost of a by-election.