Hartlepool set to stun Labour as Northern Independence Party could split vote

Keir Starmer grilled by host over 'tough contest' in Hartlepool

The Labour Party was dealt a crippling blow this week after a new poll found the Conservative Party with a thumping 17-point lead in Hartlepool. With just 48 hours to go, the Survation poll could cement what many in the Labour Party fear: that the remnants of the Red Wall are ready to give way. Sir Keir Starmer has tried desperately to appeal to Hartlepool having visited the port town three times in the past month.

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He dumbfounded many after fielding local GP Paul Williams in the seat, however.

Dr Williams lost his Stockton seat in the 2019 general election after his lengthy campaign to remain a part of the EU and promote a People's Vote.

Hartlepool voted 70 percent to leave the EU in 2016.

Much has been made of the Tory Party potentially snatching the seat, yet little attention has been paid to the other parties in the running.

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Hartlepool: Labour's chances could be split by the Northern Independence PartyHartlepool: Labour's chances could be split by the Northern Independence Party (Image: GETTY)

Paul Williams: The ardent Remainer is trying to win a seat that voted 70 percent to leave the EUPaul Williams: The ardent Remainer is trying to win a seat that voted 70 percent to leave the EU (Image: GETTY)

Leaders of the newly-formed Northern Independence Party (NIP) argue that their candidate is the only "left wing vote" in the upcoming by-election, as the Tories are now "more progressive" than Labour, according to Politics Home.

Former Labour MP Thelma Walker, who previously represented Colne Valley from 2017 to 2019, is running for NIP.

Critics of the new party say that it risks splitting the vote in favour of Tory candidate Jill Mortimer.

But NIP sees things differently.

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Thelma Walker: The NIP candidate (second from right) was formerly a Labour MPThelma Walker: The NIP candidate (second from right) was formerly a Labour MP (Image: Twitter/@FreeNorthNow)

The Party's interim vice chair Meredith Knowles told Politics Home that NIP is the only credible alternative to the two main parties.

She said: "We're not splitting the vote, we are the left vote.

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