What happens next after Mike Hill's sudden departure as Hartlepool MP?
Voters face the prospect of choosing an MP for the fourth time in less than six years following Mike Hill’s sudden resignation as Hartlepool’s Labour MP.
A by-election – possibly on Thursday, May 6 – will take place to elect his successor after his party announced on Tuesday that he had “resigned as Member of Parliament for Hartlepool with immediate effect”.
The poll will follow General Elections in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Mr Hill, who has still to comment on the reasons behind his departure, won the latter two counts with his majority more than halved in 2019 to 3,595.
One leading bookmaker has already installed the Conservatives as favourites to win a Parliamentary seat in Hartlepool for the first time in more than half a century.
But the Labour Party locally are already gearing up to defend the constituency and insist that “our priority now is to ensure a candidate is in place quickly”.
A statement added: “Labour stands up for Hartlepool and we’re proud of the town and believe in its future.
"We want to see new good jobs, the services people need right here, and a thriving town centre when people get back to the shops again. We need a Labour MP who will stand up to the Tories after a decade of neglect.”
Other established political parties in the area have so far remained officially silent after they were contacted by the Mail about both Mr Hill’s departure and the prospect of the town’s first Parliamentary by-election for 17 years.
A spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday night: “The Northern Independence Party plans to stand a candidate in the forthcoming Hartlepool by-election.
“For too long the north has been taken for granted by Westminster elites.
“We believe that now is the time for the people of the north to break with a political system that has impoverished us for generations.
“The Labour Party has never represented the real interests of the north.
“We reject the idea that London-based lawyer Sir Keir Starmer knows the first thing about life in Hartlepool.”
Mr Hill, 57, a former union official, has yet to respond to the Mail’s requests for him to comment to his constituents about his resignation.
He denied the allegations the following day when a spokesperson for him said: “Mike completely rejects these allegations and will co-operate fully with any investigation.”
Mr Hill had the party whip restored and suspension lifted the following month amid disputed claims that the woman at the centre of the allegations had asked for Labour’s investigation to be halted.
“I would also like to thank friends and colleagues from across the Labour movement for their help and support throughout my suspension.
“I truly have been humbled by the support from constituents in particular which makes me all the prouder to wear the town badge once again in Parliament.”