Labour Shadow Cabinet duo visit Hartlepool to support veterans and by-election candidate
Labour Shadow Cabinet members have been visiting Hartlepool to stress the importance of providing more support for veterans in the town and across the country.
Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, and John Healey, Shadow Defence Secretary, visited the Heugh Gun Battery on Thursday, April 15, to speak with veterans, along with Labour by-election candidate Dr Paul Williams.
Ms Nandy hailed the site on the Headland as “one of the country’s best kept secrets” and a “testament of what the people of Hartlepool can do”.
However she noted veterans who they spoke to feel “let down” by the support made available to them once they leave the armed forces.
She said: “They’ve come home and they’ve found that they’re being let down. The services aren’t here locally, the services aren’t being put in place nationally.
“If you want to level up towns like Hartlepool you have to invest in the people in them, you have to invest in the veterans, you have to invest in the young people.”
Mr Healey added that later this year in Parliament MPs will have the chance to bring the Armed Forces Covenant into law, which has been signed by councils across the country and can help ensure support is in place for veterans.
Dr Williams said he has seen their struggles during his work with the NHS, and pledged to work to open a dedicated veteran support centre in Hartlepool if elected as MP.
He said: “From my experience working as a doctor in the local NHS I’ve seen far too many veterans that fall through gaps in the system.
“Many veterans feel abandoned, they serve our countries as heroes, they’re not adequately supported when their service ends.”
Ms Nandy said she believes Dr Williams is the person to deliver the support needed for veterans, and all residents, in Hartlepool.
She said: “He’s going out fighting for every single vote and it’s that fighting spirit that will do so well for the people of Hartlepool.”
Dr Williams added there are still votes to be won ahead of the by-election on Thursday, May 6, in which 16 candidates are vying to succeed Labour’s Mike Hill as MP.
Dr Williams said: “Every single day, having conversations with people, there’s a lot of positivity, there are still some people that haven’t yet decided, but on the issues, everybody believes in the things that I’m saying.”