Labour MP For Hartlepool Mike Hill Quits Parliament Sparking First By-Election In Two Years
Labour MP Mike Hill has resigned with immediate effect, a party spokesperson has confirmed (Alamy)
The Labour MP for Hartlepool Mike Hill has quit Parliament and triggered the first by-election for almost two years.
A Labour spokesperson confirmed his departure this morning: “Mike Hill has resigned as Member of Parliament for Hartlepool with immediate effect.”
A spokesperson for the constituency Labour Party said it wanted a candidate in place quickly to "start work on sharing Labour's positive vision".
They added: "Over the past 10 years Hartlepool has been battered by the Tories down in Westminster.
"The local Tories focus on Middlesbrough and Stockton and Hartlepool is left out.
"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.”
The 57-year-old, who was first elected in 2017, is due to face an employment tribunal later this year related to accusations of "sexual harassment and victimisation”, which he has always denied.
Hill was suspended by the party over allegations in September 2019 but was reinstated and had the whip restored a month later and he stood successfully as the party's general election candidate that December.
But his majority was cut from 7,650 to 3,595 after a strong showing from the Brexit Party in his Hartlepool seat.
The upcoming by-election, the first since 1 August 2019, will end the longest gap between such events in history.
It is expectedly to be hotly-contested after the Conservatives made big gains in the North East in recent years, and it will be the first electoral test for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer since taking over from Jeremy Corbyn last April.
The vote is likely to be timed for 6 May, the same day as a raft of local and regional elections are scheduled to take place, dubbed “super Thursday” after a number of races postponed last year due to the pandemic are now going ahead.
Yesterday polling expert Lord Hayward suggested the Tories may receive a “vaccine bounce at the polls after support has grown for the party among the over-55s in recent months, the age group who have targeted for the jab so far.
He said they have opened up a “6 or 7%” lead since the roll-out began in December, when they were “neck and neck” with Labour.
“Now the significant thing is, they are the people who vote in local elections,” the peer added.