Your General Election 2019 guide to the Hartlepool constituency and its history
Naval heroes, spin doctors, pop stars, union veterans and now Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice have all targeted the Parliamentary seat of Hartlepool.
Here's our guide to the constituency ahead of the 2019 General Election on December 12.
How did the Hartlepool public vote at the last General Election in 2017?
Mike Hill (21,969 votes) was elected as Labour MP for Hartlepool by a 7,650 margin from the Conservatives’ Carl Jackson (14,319 votes) with Ukip’s Philip Broughton third (4,801 votes) and Liberal Democrat Andy Hagon last (746 votes).
Mr Hill, previously a union official, more than doubled his party’s majority in town after predecessor Iain Wright (14,076) triumphed in 2015 by 3,024 votes from Ukip’s Mr Broughton (11,052).
In contrast to the 2017 count, eight candidates stood four years ago.
Have Labour always held Hartlepool?
No. Naval hero Commander John Kerans was Tory MP for the Hartlepools, as the seat was then called, from 1959-64.
Commander Kerans was a nationwide figure after masterminding the HMS Amethyst’s escape from the Yangtze River during the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
His exploits earned him the Distinguished Service Order with Dam Busters film star Richard Todd portraying him in 1957 movie Yangtse Incident: The Story of HMS Amethyst.
After winning by just 182 votes, Commander Kerans decided against seeking re-election in 1964.
Labour’s Ted Leadbitter took the seat and held it for 28 years before colleague Peter Mandelson succeeded him in 1992.
Peter Mandelson? Why do we know that name?
Lord Mandelson is widely perceived as one of the architects of New Labour’s emergence and the party’s landslide General Election victory in 1997.
Despite resigning from the Cabinet twice in 1998 and 2001 amid complex disputes over mortgage and passport applications, he easily retained his seat in 2001 by 14,571 votes – in a field including veteran union leader Arthur Scargill as a Socialist Labour candidate – before leaving Parliament in 2004 to become a European Commissioner.
He in turn was replaced by Mr Wright at a closely-fought by-election in 2004 in which Labour triumphed over the Lib Dems by 2,033 votes in a 14-candidate field which included veteran Northern Irish singer Ronnie Carroll.
Was John Kerans the town’s only non-Labour MP?
Again no. The towns of Hartlepool and West Hartlepool, as were, came under the stewardship of a succession of Conservative, Unionist, Liberal Unionist and Liberal MPs during both the 19th and 20th Centuries.
This ended when Dai Jones triumphed in 1945 as Labour returned to power nationally at the end of the Second World War.
Will Brexit be a factor in Hartlepool?
Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice, perhaps the party’s most high profile figure after leader Nigel Farage, is standing in the town with Mr Farage quickly visiting the constituency twice to offer his support.
The Brexit Party locally is also the dominant force in a ruling Hartlepool Borough Council coalition of 10 Brexit and three Conservative councillors.
What other issues will potentially surface?
The future of the town’s hospital services is always a passionate topic.
Residents also want more police on their streets amid repeated concerns that Cleveland Police are “Middlesbrough-centric”.
Who is standing in Hartlepool on December 12?
The full list of alphabetical candidates is as follows: Joe Bousfield (Independent), Kevin Cranney (Socialist Labour Party), Andy Hagon (Liberal Democrats), Mike Hill (Labour), Stefan Richard Houghton (Conservative) and
What do the bookies say?
Labour are still 4-9 with Coral to win the Hartlepool seat with the Conservatives now 3-1 second favourite and the Brexit Party pushed out to third favourite at 5-1. The Lib Dems are 100-1, Mr Bousfield 200-1 and Socialist Labour 500-1.