Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tours Hartlepool Power Station on visit to support by-election candidate
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer expressed support for the long-term future of Hartlepool Power Station on his first visit to the town.
Sir Keir came to town to support Labour by-election candidate Dr Paul Williams, who is standing to replace former Hartlepool MP Mike Hill after his resignation earlier this month.
They met workers and apprentices at town’s EDF nuclear power station, which is due to come to the end of its lifespan in 2024.
Sir Keir said the plant should be part of “next generation” green nuclear energy plans in a long-term integrated North-East strategy.
He added that Dr Williams has the ambition to fight for associated high-skilled well-paid jobs.
Sir Keir said of Hartlepool Power Station: “I’m surprised decisions haven’t been made already about the future of this plant.
“It’s a high-skilled high paid local provider of energy. There needs to be the next generation here in Hartlepool.
"There needs to be the commitment to that as part of an integrated strategy across the North East if it is to truly be the next generation.
"Dr Paul has that ambition for Hartlepool.”
Dr Williams said he was proud to show Sir Kier around, adding: “It not only provides hundreds of quality jobs, it’s a source of inspiration for young people.”
Sir Keir deflected suggestions the by-election on Thursday, May 6, is a big test for his leadership saying: “This election is about the people of Hartlepool, about their future.
"Everybody I met so far in the power station were not asking about my future, they were asking about their future.
"What they want is an MP whose going to have the ambition for Hartlepool. That’s what they’ve got in Dr Paul Williams.”
He also dismissed any concerns over Dr Williams’ previous support of remaining in the European Union, given that Hartlepool voted by 69% for Brexit, saying Labour accepts the decision and is focused on making it a success.
He said the former Stockton South MP was “an excellent candidate” and had been guided by the wishes of the local Labour party.
“They wanted someone who worked and knew and understood Hartlepool,” he said.
Sir Keir said people had a “clear choice” between Labour and the Conservatives who he said had allowed the closure of Hartlepool’s A&E, magistrates court and police custody suite.