Hartlepool

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8256 (22.6%)
Labour: 14076 (38.5%)
Lib Dem: 761 (2.1%)
Green: 1341 (3.7%)
UKIP: 11052 (30.2%)
Independent: 201 (0.6%)
Others: 849 (2.3%)
MAJORITY: 3024 (8.3%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North East, Cleveland. The whole of the Hartlepool council area.

Main population centres: Hartlepool, Seaton Carew, Elwick, Hart.

Profile: Consists of the north eastern port of Hartlepool and the rural villages around it. Historically shipbuilding and steel dominated Hartlepool and it remains an industrial town, with the port, the steel and chemical industries, ship breaking and Hartlepool nuclear power station all important local employers.

Politics: Hartlepool was won by the Conservatives as recently as 1959, but since then is has become a reliable Labour seat, politically most associated with its former MP Peter Mandleson. Between 2002 and 2013 Hartlepool borough council had an elected mayor, held throughout the period by an Independent candidate, Stuart Drummond. Drummond originally stood as a publicity stunt for Hartlepool FC, dressed as their mascot H`Angus the Monkey (named after the local legend that locals hung a monkey as a French spy during the Napoleonic wars) and promising free bananas for school children. He won a shock victory, and was re-elected (without the monkey costume) twice before the position was abolished.


Current MP
IAIN WRIGHT (Labour) Born 1972, Hartlepool. Educated at UCL. Former chartered accountant. Hartlepool councillor from 2002. First elected as MP for Hartlepool in 2004 by-election. PPS to Rosie Winterton 2005-2006, Junior minister in Dept for Communities 2007-2009, Dept for Children, Schools and Families 2009-2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 10758 (28%)
Lab: 16267 (43%)
LDem: 6533 (17%)
UKIP: 2682 (7%)
Oth: 2002 (5%)
MAJ: 5509 (14%)
2005
Con: 4058 (11%)
Lab: 18251 (52%)
LDem: 10773 (30%)
UKIP: 1256 (4%)
Oth: 1098 (3%)
MAJ: 7478 (21%)
2001
Con: 7935 (21%)
Lab: 22506 (59%)
LDem: 5717 (15%)
Oth: 1893 (5%)
MAJ: 14571 (38%)
1997
Con: 9489 (21%)
Lab: 26997 (61%)
LDem: 6248 (14%)
MAJ: 17508 (39%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
RICHARD ROYAL (Conservative) Educated at Headlands School and Lancaster University. Corporate affairs manager.
IAIN WRIGHT (Labour) See above.
HILARY ALLEN (Liberal Democrat)
PHILLIP BROUGHTON (UKIP) Supermarket supervisor and wrestling promoter. Stockton councillor 2007-2011 for the Conservatives. Contested North East region 2014 European elections.
MICHAEL HOLT (Green) Insurance salesman.
SANDRA ALLISON (Your vote could save our hospital)
JOHN HOBBS (Independent - Tell it Like it Is) Contested Hartlepool 2005.
STEPHEN PICTON (Independent)
Links
Comments - 168 Responses on “Hartlepool”
  1. I agree with that.

    Some of their seats that are already safe will be trending even more in their direction, and others will be pointing towards being a marginal.

    And where they aren’t really in contention, they’ll slip back even further, perhaps out of the medals altogether.

    I’m not convinced Farron’s strategy of being the party of the 48% will succeed nationally given how left wing he is and also the vigour of his pro EU views… lots of right wing people voted remain and wouldn’t go in his direction, but I think in some seats it’ll see them back in the mix.

  2. Basildon might still be a possibility.

  3. @Graham I’m not sure about that the Tories are probably too strong in the Basildon seat for UKIP to win barring a Tory meltdown (Thurrock is a possibility though). Given the current state of play: Labour’s internal woes, Corbyn’s abysmal approval ratings and Labour’s new positions on ‘ unlimited immigration being no problem’ WWC Labour seats in the north are the ripest targets for UKIP atm not Tory seats.

    The ideal profile for a potential seat to flip to UKIP would be a very white working class seat in the north with a Labour vote sub 50%, a good second or close third showing for UKIP last time and a Tory vote of around 20%-25% which can be squeezed in an anti-Corbyn tactical vote. I don’t know how many seats fit this bill but these are the kind of seats that Labour (especially under it’s present leadership) will need to watch it’s back should UKIP surge again under Nuttall.

  4. @Conservative Estimate. It largely depends Labour are getting back very few of the people who switched to UKIP from them, the current weakness of UKIP in the polls is virtually entirely due to people who switched to them from the Tories switching back.

    If an election were held today the result in Hartlepool would probably look something like:
    Labour: 35%
    Tory: 32%
    UKIP: 25%

    i.e Labour would win on a very low vote share due to a split opposition though the Tories would get a close second due to some Tory leaning Kippers returning home and Labour’s vote share decreasing. If UKIP were to recover a bit nationally to the extent that they can persuade Tory voters to back them (as they came second last time) and take Labour 2015 voters disgusted with Corbyn they could very easily win this seat and perhaps even by a comfortable majority. Something in the region of:

    UKIP: 42%
    Labour: 33%
    Tory: 18%

    would certainly be in the realm of possibility and would suggest that several other Labour seats in the north are in deep trouble.

  5. Peppermintea
    I actually meant Thurrock.!

  6. None of us can predict in detail what will happen in 2020 , but I would expect Labour to perform better by that time than current polls are suggesting. Therefore, if Labour would not lose seats today when at a low ebb , it will be a fair bit less likely in 2020!

  7. @Graham it depends they’d only not lose Hartlepool today due to the opposition being split. If UKIP get back on track I personally think it’s likely they’d lose it.

    Assuming Corbyn is still leader I can’t really see Labour doing much polling much better come 2020 given the rather sustained spate of dreadful numbers when the opposition ‘should’ be doing very well and the government ‘should’ be polling very badly.I can’t see Labour doing much better as most people have completely made up there mind on Jezza and there will be worse to come out on him as an election approaches. Sure the Tories may well be doing worse than their current polling numbers in the 40s but that would require a nationwide UKIP or Lib Dem revival for them to start losing votes. Though as I stated above a revival of UKIP with Tory voters would hit a whole raft of Labour seats in the North anyway…

  8. I believe it to be unlikely that Corbyn will lead Labour in 2020. He might remain there until 2018 , but eventually he will go and I would expect to see Labour back in the mid 30s following his departure. As it is, Corbyn appears to have got the measure of May in Parliamentary exchanges and I am far from convinced that she would outperform him in an election campaign.

  9. It’s not really the UKIP way but to copy the Lib Dems wouldn’t be a bad idea here.

    ‘A vote for the Tories is a vote for Labour’

    ‘Only UKIP can beat Labour here’

    Etc

  10. IF ukip rise again the consequences for both Labour and Tories are unpredictable.. the more both those parties court UKIP the more that the Remain voters (40% of Tory voters and 65%:of Labour voters, remember) may go Lib Dem IF the Lib Dems become credible again.
    Farron got a huge round of applause on BBBqt when he criticised Farage and if anything the new UKIP leader looks to be even more divisive..

    Two big IFs there you note! No sign of either in current polls, but by-elections coming up could change things for either or both Parties

  11. Only if you assume that every Tory voter would have UKIP as a second preference and vice-versa – which is of course a fiction. However, many of those seats are likely to fall to the Tories anyway. Barrow-in-Furness in particular is doomed as long as Labour have an anti-Trident leader.

    I have reservations about how far UKIP can go, but this has to be their #1 target. They could feasibly end up with no seats at all at the next GE, as Douglas Carswell seems to be suffering some kind of identity crisis at the moment. If you read his piece in the Guardian (yes, an ultra-libertarian Thatcherite sharing column inches with Polly Toynbee to champion the working classes) he appears to have gone a little bit crazy.

  12. UKIP voters would not be transferable to facilitate tactical voting.Ex-Labour voters are far more likely to switch back to Labour than to vote Tory regardless of what UKIP might say.The more Tory -friendly they appear the less appeal they have to Labour voters. They would likely suffer a similar fate to that of the LiDems entering Coalition with the Tories.

  13. UKIP would do well to select a local candidate here (and indeed elsewhere) as it very much plays to the narrative UKIP would want to promote that other parties are too cosy in Westminster and don’t understand the needs of people in X constituency.

  14. It was,of course, a Tory -held seat in the 1959 -1964 Parliament.

  15. ”Only if you assume that every Tory voter would have UKIP as a second preference”

    @Polltroll Well in a lot of wealthy Southern seats Tory 2nd preferences probably lean towards the Lib Dems as opposed to UKIP. However given the demographics of a Tory voter in this kind of seat their second preference is extremely likely to be UKIP especially seen as the only other viable option is Labour…

  16. I think some UKIP voters could vote for the Tories tactically, some with enthusiasm and others reluctantly.

    Other than hating the EU, the other thing that most members I met have in common is that they absolutely loathe the Labour Party. And their Hope Not Hate dirty tricks department.

  17. Sunderland South actually!

  18. UKIP would require a swing of 5% or less to gain the following constituencies:
    * Thurrock (0.98% swing from Conservative)
    * Thanet South (2.85% swing from Conservative)
    * Hartlepool (3.83% swing from Labour)
    * Boston and Skegness (5.00% swing from Conservative)

    The question is – can they manage it without Nigel Farage?

  19. @Conservative Estimate.

    I very much doubt it – indeed unlikely that the Tory majority will match 1959!

  20. @ Conservative Estimate
    ‘It will exceed 1959 – look at the polls.’

    What is the point of of looking at polls today in respect of an election not due until May 2020 – 3 years and 5 months ahead?
    Moreover, even if today’s leads of 13/14% were to be reflected in the outcome it would only imply a majority of 60 – 80 seats. In reality, I will be surprised if the Tory lead exceeds their 2015 margin.

  21. That is wisful thinking. Corbyn already has the measure of May in the Commons , and I would expect him to match her in an election campaign . She comes over as rather stiff and awkward. Corbyn’s negatives are now discounted in the polls – not that I expect him to be leader in 2020.

  22. Although he’s essentially right Maxim’s/Conservative Estimate’s arrogance is reminding me why I started disliking the Tories with a passion in earlier years

    A wannabe public school boy wagging his finger at opponents isn’t one that plays well with the British electorate, although I do think Graham might be in for a rude awakening

    The biggest problem for Labour is that if they had a half-decent leader they would at least be neck-and-neck in the polls as I think May – as any PM would – will have an absolute nightmare trying to negotiate a decent Brexit settlement for us and she hasn’t helped her self by having the three stooges in charge – Johnson (scarcely taken seriously outside England nowadays) , Davis (living in complete denial) and Fox (disliked and disrespected throughout the world, largely down to his sheer incompetence)

  23. “Although he’s essentially right Maxim’s/Conservative Estimate’s arrogance is reminding me why I started disliking the Tories with a passion in earlier years

    A wannabe public school boy wagging his finger at opponents isn’t one that plays well with the British electorate, although I do think Graham might be in for a rude awakening”

    Completely agree with this. Big reason why Cameron was despised by a lot of voters. I still find Jacob Rees-Mogg a little off-putting.

  24. NTY UK

    You are absolutely correct in your comments about public school MPs. They are a real put off to most voters who do not sure in the privileged background the Cameron’s, Osborne’s and Rees-Moggs of this world occupy. They govern for those like them and not the rest of society. I used to vote Conservative but I will never place my cross in a box for that party again. May is no better, just carrying on some of the nasty policies bequeathed by Cameron and Co.

  25. I am not a Corbyn supporter at all , but it is clear from Tory comments that he is more than holding his own against May in the Commons and there is every chance that he would better her in an election campaign. He also has the advantage of being seen as authentic – which would be very useful after ten years of a Tory – led Government when people are in the mood for change,Hague was seen as a ‘smart Alec’ at the time – but even he was able to do significantly better than poll forecasts had suggested at the time of the 2001 election which had predicted an increase in Blair’s 1997 majority to over 200!
    However, I don’t believe Corbyn will lead Labour in 2020 – much more likely that he will step down or be ousted in 2018.

  26. ”Tory comments that he is more than holding his own against May in the Commons and there is every chance that he would better her in an election campaign.”

    Lol the delusions of some of the left never cease to amaze. The man is an extreme, incompetent idiot who the public have already made uop their mind that they don’t like. With Corbyn as Labour leader the whole election campaign will be about Castro, IRA,, Hamas and all the stuff Corbyn has done in the past and why he is unfit to be prime minister. The media has treated him very lightly up at until now only portraying him as an idiotic joke instead of a crazy extremist but when they go for him properly it will be a whole different ball game. If you can’t see what a disaster Corbyn is for Labour your being wilfully blind.

  27. I really believe there is a lot of wishful thinking or delusion there. As someone who shares the criticism of Corbyn’s past associations I am firmly of the view that this is already included in the polling figures we are presented with. I really do not think the electorate will be that interested in any conversations he had in the past with the IRA when everybody knows that Blair and Major have done likewise – and Adams & McGuinness have shaken hands with the Queen!

  28. @Graham. I don’t think they are included as Labour still retaining most of their 2015 I vote labour cos I just do voters most of whom fall under the ‘patriotic working class’ label. The huge polling gap is almost entirely caused by Tory leaning kippers ‘coming home’. At the time of an election who IRA, Hamas, anti-British, unlimited immigration, extremist etc. are repeated ad nauseam a lot of low information voters may well think ‘I just can’t with this man’. Plus it is ridiculous to compare the Queen shaking hands with McGuiness as part of the healing/peace process to Corbyn being best buddies with the IRA leadership and giving them a platform while they were murdering British military personnel and civilians. The former is an act of diplomacy the latter is an action of an extremist who’s unfit to be an MP let alone PM.

  29. @Peppermintea
    I really think to most people this is ancient history now in the same way the fact that Tory MPs in the past had friendly links with Apartheid -ruled South Africa – or going even further back – with pre-war Nazi Germany.will have little bearing on present day political preferences. Not only did Blair /Major speak to the IRA via Sinn Fein – so did Willie Whitelaw and Harold Wilson in the early 1970s.I suspect that many will be sympathetic to the view that Corbyn was somewhat ahead of his time and that peace would have arrived earlier had he been listened to.I really do not believe that it will be a salient issue at all – and cannot imagine May seeking to make it one. On the other hand, Adolf Hitler’s favourite British newspaper – the Daily Mail -might try it.

  30. @Peppermintea
    I really think to most people this is ancient history now in the same way the fact that Tory MPs in the past had friendly links with Apartheid -ruled South Africa – or going even further back – with 1930s Germany.will have little bearing on present day political preferences. Not only did Blair /Major speak to the IRA via Sinn Fein – so did Willie Whitelaw and Harold Wilson in the early 1970s.I suspect that many will be sympathetic to the view that Corbyn was somewhat ahead of his time and that peace would have arrived earlier had he been listened to.I really do not believe that it will be a salient issue at all – and cannot imagine May seeking to make it one. On the other hand, Adolf Hitler’s favourite British newspaper – the Daily Mail -might try it.

  31. ‘I suspect that many will be sympathetic to the view that Corbyn was somewhat ahead of his time and that peace would have arrived earlier had he been listened to.’

    Surely if Corbyn has his way – a united Ireland – there would be a civil war in Ireland – rather than the peace process that to be fair has been largely well-observed by both sides over the past 15-20 years or so

  32. Graham, Blair and Major did indeed have contacts with the republican movement, but always made it clear that for them to be part of any lasting solution they would have to settle for something less than a united Ireland. Anyone who didn’t grasp that point can’t be said to have been a positive influence in bringing about peace. There is no evidence that Corbyn did that, indeed it’s more likely that he was merely agitating for a British withdrawal.

    As Tim says, the latter was never a viable solution. Had it been the British government would have done precisely that when things began to kick off in NI in the late 60s/early 70s. It was rightly concluded that such a policy would have succeeded only in producing civil war and a refugee crisis.

  33. Have to say I totally agree with Tim about the bare-faced arrogance and supreme complacency of the Tories at the moment, well illustrated by the posts of Maxim / Conservative Estimate, being highly offputting. The only selling point that a heavily damaged, accident prone and mediocre government has at the moment is that the other side are unelectable. Similar to New Labour circa 2005. That example does show that such a strategy eventually leads to a nasty defeat. On that point I agree with Graham that talks of a 1983 kind of Tory blowout are premature. A vacuum can’t last forever and as soon as a sensible alternative comes along I and millions of others will be delighted to vote for it.

  34. Keiran W
    But Corbyn is not now seeking to make a United Ireland Labour policy as far as I am aware. I really do not see it becoming a big issue.

  35. I doubt that this is true for most people though for me (who has close family ties to Northern Ireland and is a staunch unionist) it was one of the defining factors which has driven me away from Labour: a highly irresponsible position for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to take which could have serious consequences on the fragile peace process in Northern Ireland.

  36. But it will not become party policy.

  37. And yet it’s still a major concern for me: the Prime Minister is an international emissary of the state. How can I support a Prime Minister who wants to tear that state apart?

  38. But there is no likelihood of Corbyn being able to make that Government policy – even if it remains his private personal view. I think it is academic anyway because I do not expect him to be party leader in 2020.

  39. “But Corbyn is not now seeking to make a United Ireland Labour policy as far as I am aware”.

    True. I don’t think whatever Corbyn’s current stance on Ireland is will make a huge amount of difference.

    What isn’t true is this idea that him having had contacts with the republican movement when the troubles were still ongoing shows he was some far sighted visionary doing the type of work Major, Blair and Ahearn were to do much later. Cobyn was merely a cheer leader for one side in the conflict. He can’t credibly be characterised as someone who was trying to help build a lasting settlement as such a settlement could never have been founded upon the idea of a united Ireland; an idea he supported.

  40. The amusing thing about Tim’s accusation is that he forgets that most of the public school Tories were of course the patrician Wets who ran the Party for decades.

    Soames is routinely rude, sexist, racist etc.

    Andrew Percy by comparison is a WWC rightwinger who is far more in touch with the average man than DC or GO and I’m glad to see he’s now a Minister and they aren’t.

  41. Graham – the difference being that JC & JMc socialised with them pre-ceasefire and indeed days after attacks!

    IMHO it will make a difference (even in some safe Labour seats the vote will plunge, as well as the obvious marginal ones where Labour will stand no chance as a result)

  42. ‘The amusing thing about Tim’s accusation is that he forgets that most of the public school Tories were of course the patrician Wets who ran the Party for decades.’

    It’s not an accusation – I went to a public school myself

    I actually said wannabe public schoolboy – which is something different

  43. Len McClusky now arguing for an end to free movement

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/16/len-mccluskey-unite-must-fight-for-end-of-free-movement

    Strange as it may seem now, what chance we go into 2020 with Labour promising to end free movement whilst the Tories are having to sell a soft Brexit deal with only token changes on free movement? Killing the Tories chances in Maxim’s favourite WWC northern targets but perhaps limiting losses to the Lib Dems? Might happen, especially if Corbyn isn’t leader by then.

  44. “Might happen, especially if Corbyn isn’t leader by then”.

    Why will another challenge to Corbyn before 2020 be any more successful than the last one?

  45. The problem is that Labour are all over the place on immigration. Unanimity in either direction would be better than the current mess they find themselves in.

    By the way I doubt Maxim has ever been to Hartlepool. He might find canvassing for the Tories there harder than he expects 😉

  46. I’d say on average Hartlepool is probably rougher than Sedgefield, and Sedgefield’s mining industry closed decades ago whereas heavy industrial closures in coastal Teeside are much more recent and hence still quite raw (see my posts on Redcar yesterday). I’d be more confident of Sedgefield and Bishop Auckland eventually becoming Tory-leaning commuter seats than Hartlepool.

  47. “Yes in the three South Durham seats the changes are demographic; in Hartlepool it’s more Labour taking the seat for granted.”

    There are demographic changes here as well. Given the kind of industries formerly prevalent in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Stockton (steel, chemicals, shipbuilding) there would have been quite a lot of smart middle class engineering and economics graduates in those seats (though some would undoubtedly have commuted in from nicer neighbouring districts in Yorkshire). Nevertheless there has been a big private sector brain drain from coastal Teeside which is very apparent if you chat eg with executives from Tata Steel. Such people would previously have been a solid basis for the Tory vote here (still over 30% in 1992) whereas today it is almost totally WWC based.

  48. I’d guess Middlesbrough South has experienced the same effect I discussed above in terms of Hartlepool, Redcar etc, with Tynemouth being quite different and perhaps going down a similar route as the Wirral. But I don’t know the areas that well at all.

  49. Kieran
    “Why will another challenge to Corbyn before 2020 be any more successful than the last one?”

    Hate to keep pestering people with this but a leadership challenge isn’t the only way to get rid of Corbyn. I feel it fairly likely he’ll step aside at some point for a younger more savy Corbynista.

  50. Corbyn is there to permanently lurch Labour leftwards. Once he’s ensured that can survive him stepping down I’ve little doubt he will do so. He seems to detest the job. Even someone who enjoyed it would find it very tiring at his age.

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