Breaking the Red Wall: Tory candidate wins in Labour stronghold Hartlepool for 1st time since 1974

A UK Conservative Party candidate has won a by-election in Hartlepool, upstaging the Labour opponent for the first time in nearly five decades.

Tory candidate Jill Mortimer came in first with 51.88%, beating her Labour opponent, Paul Williams, by almost 7,000 votes. She will be the first Conservative MP from the area since 1974.

Hartlepool has been long considered part of Labour’s ‘Red Wall’ – a set of loyal strongholds in northern England.

In her victory speech, Mortimer said people in the town had “had enough” of Labour policies and “made it clear it’s time for a change.”

Conservative Party co-chair Amanda Milling hailed Mortimer’s win as “a historic result.”

Labour MP Richard Burgon said the defeat in Hartlepool was “incredibly disappointing,” and that the party’s leadership “needs to urgently change direction.”

“We are going backwards in areas we need to be winning,” he said.

Meanwhile, a source close to Labour leader Keir Starmer told the Independent that the party “has not yet changed nearly enough for voters to place their trust in us.” Starmer previously said that he will “take full responsibility” for Labour’s electoral defeats, adding that the party has “a mountain to climb” in terms of rebuilding trust among the voters.

Starmer visited Hartlepool three times during the campaign.

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(L) Shaun Bailey. © AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS; (C) Sadiq Khan. © AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS; (R) Count Binface. © AFP / OLI SCARFF.
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