Watch passerby passionately challenge Rory Stewart as the Tory MP prepares to visit Hartlepool

Former Conservative Party leadership challenger Rory Stewart is expected to arrive in Hartlepool on Thursday as part of his ongoing fact-finding tour of the region.

Thursday, 29th August 2019, 06:00 am

Stewart, who attempted unsuccessfully to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister earlier this year, is due to meet members of the public in an informal visit at 1pm.

While the exact venue has still to be confirmed, it is likely to be near one of the Victoria Road entrances to the town's Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

Stewart, who is the Tory MP for Penrith and the Border, visits Hartlepool following trips to South Shields, Durham and Sunderland earlier this week.

Conservative MP Rory Stewart, right, is challenged by a passerby in Sunderland city centre on Wednesday. He is due to undertake a similar walkabout in Hartlepool on Thursday.

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Speaking during his walkabout in Sunderland city centre on Wednesday, he explained: "The reason for it is that it helps me to learn a lot.

"As a politician I spend a lot of time in Parliament and I spend a lot of time in the Lake District, which is a beautiful area, and so I wanted to visit places I have not visited before and speak to people about the issues which matter to them."

After spending Wednesday morning with Durham Police, Stewart met a homeless man, refugees, asylum seekers, clergy and charity workers during his hour-long walk around Sunderland.

He was also challenged passionately about his party's record in power by a passerby in the Market Square.

Stewart, left, and the passerby discuss the Conservatives' record in power.

The unnamed man said: "Your government has screwed this country up good and proper. So regardless of what you might come back with, it is how I see it.

"I see the poverty, I see the people on the streets, I see the unemployed. I have never seen as many poor elderly and young people on the streets."

When Stewart then asked him if things were better a decade ago - when Labour were still in power - the man, who said he previously worked in the building trade, replied: "Damn right it was. I was earning more money 10 years ago than I am now."

Stewart will head to Manchester on Friday before ending his week-long tour in London.