Labour: Baroness Chakrabarti discusses Hartlepool candidate
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The poll was carried out by Survation for ITV’s Good Morning Britain between April 23 and 29 – which was before Prime Minister Boris Johnson hit the headlines over the funding for the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat. The results of the poll showed the Tory candidate Jill Mortimer having a 17-point lead at 50 percent over Labour’s Dr Paul Williams at 33 percent, ahead of the election this Thursday. The results of the poll indicate Labour is on course to lose a seat it has held since 1964, in another huge blow for the crumbling Red Wall.
Labour leader Keir Starmer admitted that people in Hartlepool did not seem to care a great deal about “wallpaper-gate”, despite the controversy giving off a sense that “there’s one rule for them, another for us”.
During a visit to the coastal town yesterday, Mr Johnson said he is not complacent as there will still be a “tough fight” for the seat.
He said: “I have always believed that it was going to be a tough fight, and I still believe that is the case.”
Mr Johnson added he hoped voters would focus on the “massive opportunities” the Tories had brought by delivering on Brexit.
Hartlepool by-election: Tories handed bombshell 17-point lead over Labour – new poll (Image: GETTY)
Hartlepool residents backed leaving the EU in 2016 by a resounding 70 percent.
Mr Johnson said: “Here in Hartlepool, for instance, you’ve got a fantastic community that voted for change in 2016 and we’re delivering that change.
“I hope that they will come forward and vote for change again.”
Shane Moore, the independent leader of Hartlepool Council, added he believes the Tories are likely to win.
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Boris Johnson warned of a “tough fight” as he visited Hartlepool yesterday (Image: GETTY)
He told the Telegraph: “It’s theirs to lose.
“Hartlepool over the years was Labour through and through.
“People said ‘I voted Labour because my dad voted Labour’, but it’s been broken and it’s difficult to get those votes back.
“Almost perversely, Boris Johnson has, bizarrely, managed to speak more to the working class and Hartlepudlian.”
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Keir Starmer admitted people in the town did not care about “wallpaper-gate” (Image: GETTY)
The Labour-held seat is being contested after incumbent Mike Hill resigned in March following sexual harassment allegations, which he has denied.
During a visit to Liberty Steel in Hartlepool last week, Sir Keir insisted he was still hopeful for his party keeping its seat as “every vote has to be earned”.
He said during the visit: “Quite the contrary, I love coming here.
“I’m very pleased to be here, I’m delighted to be here and I know every vote has to be earned and that’s why I’m here.”
Hartlepool residents backed leaving the EU in 2016 by a resounding 70 percent (Image: EXPRESS)
However, he did not say what would happen to him as leader of the party if Labour lost in Hartlepool.
He said: “This is about Hartlepool, it’s not about me, we’re fighting for every vote.”
The latest poll also shows the Tories’ chances of winning may not have been affected by Mr Johnson recently coming under scrutiny over his refurbishment of his private flat above 11 Downing Street.
Both Number 10 and the Conservative Party did not deny reports that the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) paid the Cabinet Office to cover the initial costs of the works.
Labour is on course to lose a seat it has held since 1964 (Image: GETTY)
Earlier this morning, Trade Secretary Liz Truss also defended Mr Johnson as she said there were bigger issues to focus on.
She said: “They (people) want to know that we are on track with our road map for getting out of the Covid lockdown.
“That’s what people are concerned about and I think these allegations and counter-rumours from what’s going on in Number 10 are of very, very little interest to people across the country.
“What they want to know is how we’re dealing with Covid, how the vaccination programme is going and how we’re building jobs and growth. Today we’re announcing these 6,000 more jobs thanks to our trade agreement with India.”