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
Con: 10758 (28%)
Lab: 16267 (43%)
LDem: 6533 (17%)
UKIP: 2682 (7%)
Oth: 2002 (5%)
MAJ: 5509 (14%)
Con: 4058 (11%)
Lab: 18251 (52%)
LDem: 10773 (30%)
UKIP: 1256 (4%)
Oth: 1098 (3%)
MAJ: 7478 (21%)
Con: 7935 (21%)
Lab: 22506 (59%)
LDem: 5717 (15%)
Oth: 1893 (5%)
MAJ: 14571 (38%)
Con: 9489 (21%)
Lab: 26997 (61%)
LDem: 6248 (14%)
MAJ: 17508 (39%)

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)
Comments - 174 Responses on “Hartlepool”
  1. Con Estimate
    Two reasons.

    1) He doesn’t even really want the leadership position, didn’t want to win the first leadership, wanted to stand down during the coup etc etc

    2) Regardless of what one thinks of them Corbyn and his team are not total morons, if the bad polling persists and we have some poor local election results the leadership are not going to walk headfirst into a massacre of which they’ll potentially receive blame, they’ll move onto plan B instead.

    I keep harping on about this but the current ruckus in Labour really isn’t about one man Corbyn, its about how the party operates. Corbyn is the accidental figurehead for one side of that debate. Momentum doesn’t die with Corbyn just as Progress didn’t die with Blair, its always been much bigger than just “who leads the Lab party”

  2. Rivers, for the most part I would agree with you, but to this outsider there does appear to be a small minority of Corbyn followers for whom it really is about Corbyn as a person. The sort of people who write that book of poems about him, for example (with apologies if your good self was a contributor to that no-doubt excellent tome).

  3. “By the time Corbyn departs in 2020 (if he does), the damage will already have been done”

    What’s that predicated on? History shows us that party’s can spin things around from a dud leader remarkably quickly. Most recently look at the Tories in 05 with Howarth/IDS The Public had barely a year to get to grip[s with Howarth who might I add was pretty weird himself and he gained dozens of seats off Lab and only narrowly missed out on more.

  4. Lesson: weird leader does better than weak leader (though IDS was arguably both weak and weird)

  5. Polltroll
    Lol no I wasn’t a contributor don’t worry I haven’t totally lost the plot yet…

    The Peeps for whom Corbyn is the messiah do exist but they are (in my experience)
    1) A clear minority
    2) Not very active within the party
    3) Unlikely to cause trouble if Corbyn goes especially if Corbyn leaves in good spirits having given a ringing endorsement to whoever his successor is.

  6. Con
    “When was the last time Labour deposed a sitting leader?”
    Who cares there is a first time for everything, and besides we’re not talking Corbyn being deposed we’re talking him standing down voluntarily in which case that happened last in 2007 when Blair stood down (excluding Milliband and Brown cos there was obvious special circumstances re them).

    “History shows us that it’s the Conservative Party that ditches unpalatable leaders”
    What’s your point? Is that one of the laws of British politics? Only the Tories can depose a leader mid term? We live in volatile times Maxim anything can happen.

    “Howard was quite good at appealing to the WWC voters”
    And whoever replaces Corbyn might be as well, we don’t even know who it is yet!!!

  7. I agree with Rivers that it is still possible (likely, even) that JC won’t make 2020. I can see several scenarios under which he ceases to be leader:

    1/ Successful leadership challenge. Leadership challenges are likely to keep happening as long as JC remains leader and the polls/election results don’t improve markedly. MPs won’t just sit back and allow things to continue going disastrously. This summer the rules were very challenging for the anti-Corbyn side, and they messed up badly by arguing between themselves over who the candidate should be when they should have. More favourable rules and a better candidate *could* just get them over the line in a future challenge, though this wouldn’t be easy and the odds would still be on JC seeing off future challenges.

    2/ Resignation after more people turn against him. The ‘coup’ must have been very close to succeeding. If other MPs who are even more ideologically aligned with him than some who resigned in the summer were to tell him the game was up he probably would go.

    3/ Surprise resignation in 2018-ish. 15 months into his leadership JC doesn’t look any more like he wants to be PM than he did at the start. He might well conclude by 2018-ish that he’s achieved more than he could have imagined in shifting the party to the left and that it is time for a more credible PM candidate who is ideologically acceptable to him. This would be more likely to happen if he had a candidate in mind and was confident he had the numbers (of MPs, as well as leadership election voters) for them to win the leadership contest.

    4/ Unions turn on him big time. The unions are not as important in Labour politics as they once were and if a leader wanted to defy them he could. But for somebody like JC with roots in the trade union movement it would be tough to carry on without their support. A withdrawal of union support is not so unlikely – already several big unions don’t support him, and those that do are not unequivocal in their support.

  8. “Howard was quite good at appealing to the WWC voters”

    Outside a few hotspots like Essex, Hague was better. The Tory vote went down in 2005 in many WWC seats in the north and midlands. Much of the Tory improvement in 2005 came in decidedly un-WWC London seats like Wimbledon and Putney, often thanks to the Lib Dems leaking votes away from Labour rather than direct increases in the Tory vote.

  9. “Unions turn on him big time. The unions are not as important in Labour politics as they once were and if a leader wanted to defy them he could. But for somebody like JC with roots in the trade union movement it would be tough to carry on without their support. A withdrawal of union support is not so unlikely – already several big unions don’t support him, and those that do are not unequivocal in their support.”

    Moves to restrict strikes on public transport, which Labour in its current state may be powerless to stop, could be exactly the kind of impetus for this. When the unions sense that Corbyn’s unpopularity is directly damaging their members interests they will act.

  10. Jack
    I’d say umber three is by far the most likely, indeed if one chooses to look the leadership look to be making a lot of effort to facilitate it. They already want to lower the threshold of MP’s nominations down to 5% thus ensuring a leftie can get on a future leadership ballot which would be a pointless amendment if they subscribed to Maxims view (desire) that Corbyn will stay on post 2020 literally until he drops dead.

    Also listening to Corbyn and McDonnell’s speeches (not just the big broadcast ones but also at local events and regional conference) they really do go heavy on the praise for the likes of Lewis, Long-Bailey, Osamore, Smith, Stevens, West, Burgon, Haigh, Rayner and all the other new lefties in parliament. Throw in that they are getting shoved into the media most all of the time and I think its fairly apparent their is something of a grooming process going on to see who the best successor would be.

  11. Hemelig is right again

    Whilst the tories have probably improved most amongst the wwc over the last decade and a half, that was not borne out in the 2005 election, which probably explains cameron’s whole strategy of attempting to make the party attractive to the sort of people that used to vote tory in the 1980s

    In the last 2 elections the biggest pro tory swings have been in wwxc seats even with ukip

  12. And i say that as someone who voted tory for the first time in 2010 because of cameron i did not in 2015

  13. Conservative Estimate this is not the forum to expose your partisan views it’s purpose is an objective forum for objective contributions, we all do it from time to time but you really need to scale it back otherwise Reddit might be more your thing.

  14. Con Est/Matt
    “you really need to scale it back otherwise Reddit might be more your thing”

    Or perhaps the Breitbart comments section?

  15. Cambridge
    2005: Lab
    2010: Con
    2015: Lib Dem

  16. Edinburgh West (Con; Lab; Lib)
    Midlothian (Lib; SNP; Lab)

  17. Also:
    Aberdeen North (Lib, SNP, Lab)
    Edinburgh East (Lib, SNP, Lab)
    Glasgow Central (Lib, SNP, Lab)
    Glasgow South (Lib, SNP, Lab)
    Lanark and Hamilton East (Lib, SNP, Lab)
    North Ayrshire and Arran (Con, SNP, Lab)
    Rutherglen & Hamilton West (Lib, SNP, Lab)

  18. Blaenau Gwent may be the champion – it has had five different second-placed parties between 1997 and 2015!

    1997: Liberal Democrat
    2001: Plaid Cymru
    2005: Independent
    2010: Labour
    2015: UKIP

  19. Make that 6 elections with 6 different second places – the Tories were second in 1992!

  20. I doubt that has ever happened anywhere else in British politics. What chance an improbable surge by the Green Party in BG in 2020?

  21. Lord Mandleson says he does something every day to help bring about the end of Corbyn as Leader.

    Politicshome has a piece on his interview.

  22. That’s sounds a little egotistical, but maybe I should not judge before knowing his daily plot

  23. Also reported here:


    Needless to say the commenters are going apeshit over this one.

  24. Majority of 56 by any chance?

  25. A majority of 56 on those fugures would mean a super low turnout

  26. Joe
    It was a joke, its something of a meme on this site that every close election prediction replicates the 97 result in Kingston and Surbiton (majority of 56 votes) I don’t know when that started but I think it was after Gloy Plopwell’s 100th predicted Lib Dem gain with a majority of 56 votes…and stupendous momentum naturally 😀

  27. The Tory PPC here in 2015 certainly sounds interesting:


    Richard Royal who set up Lionheart Consulting…(I stopped reading his online profiles at that point!) I’ll keep a look out for him on the Apprentice.

  28. ConEst – yes, indeed Rivers10’s own seat of Liverpool West Derby.

    In fact that’s had 4 different Parties come 2nd.

    UKIP 2nd in 2015 (LDs dropped to 7th which is as rare as here).

    Previously LDs 2nd (2005 & 2010).

    Before that the Liberal Party 2nd (1997 & 2001).

    Cons 2nd (1992).

  29. Iain Wright has announced he is not contesting the election…

  30. Is Phillip Broughton still in UKIP?

  31. Yes and he’s declared he’s standing.

  32. To be honest the Conservatives are more likely to win this seat than UKIP (and that’s still not very likely). They should learn from Stoke Central, where they soft-pedalled their own candidate to make way for Paul Nuttall and ended up splitting the right-wing vote anyway. Who knows how the contest would have ended had they pushed hard right from the start?

  33. The locals who predicted a local – and not Nuttall – would stand here for UKIP were right.

    Incidentally, msn and the Mirror have photographs of a fight between two women here outside a UKIP launch.

    Although from the look of the young male with the younger woman they were anti-UKIP protestors who accused a 62-yeasr-old lady of being drunk.

    Luckily Nuttall missed the action by minutes (he was an amateur junior boxer as a child before he played for Tranmere FC’s youth team).

  34. Is the UKIP candidate actually announced yet?

    If it’s Phillip Broughton why haven’t they been able to announce it’s Phillip Broughton?


  35. The Conservatives are pushing for a “regressive alliance” here.


  36. I see the odds have them as fav now but I really can’t see the Conservatives taking Hartlepool.

    As they can’t and I can’t quite see UKIP managing it I predict a Labour hold, but I’d rate the chances as Lab 50% chance, UKIP 33% chance (and maybe their best chance), Tories only a 10% chance.

  37. If the UKIP vote goes as most polls are suggesting, I see no reason as to why this is unwinnable for the Tories. However, that being said, I think as one of the last breaths of a dying party, UKIP will probably hold up relatively well here which will severely dent Conservative chances.

    I think you’re sentiment is right, but you’re being very generous to UKIP; I doubt UKIP’s vote will increase, surely not enough to win the seat?

  38. UKIP’s candidate is good and a known quantity as he stood in 2015.

    (If reports are correct)

  39. If Cons performance here is sub-par, and UKIP’S is truly fairly slick, they could win not Cons.

    For some tactical anti-Lab voters, their clear and close 2nd place in 2015 may decide their vote even if they do like the PM.

    Even if UKIP don’t win, a good campaign would see them in 2nd with Lab 3rd.

    I’ve not heard any evidence for why Lab might hold this against the clear and reasonable expectations otherwise. This wasn’t a 55-45 Brexit seat, it’s a 70-30 and atypical of the type of voter who feel abandoned by Labour and scornful of Corbyn.

  40. Turnout was derisory so take this info with caution but the Metro Mayor results for Hartlepool are not massively promising for the Tories or UKIP.

    Lab was fairly comfortably ahead on first preferences in the borough with UKIP just beating the Tories for second.
    The Tories did then receive narrowly more second preference votes than Lab but not enough to win the borough overall.

    As I said turnout was very low (about 19% I think) so who that benefited/hurt in that election is anyone’s guess but its just something to consider and suggest if nothing else that Lab are still the favourites here.

  41. Conservatives have only won here once in 1959 by around 150 votes since WII. Since 1964 the constituency was only every marginal in the 1983 and 1987 parliament.

  42. Rivers

    I think UKIP getting 2nd in Metro mayor IS massively promising for UKIP in the context of their poll collapse nationally and the fact that Metro mayor elections are not exactly their forte (or indeed any local elections on low turnout, only Parliamentary by-elections)! I doubt all those voters thought they could actually win yet they still voted for them.

    So in a FPTP election where the result from last time is a clear second for UKIP, they can expect to hold up well as a minimum.

  43. In the end this was a very comfortable Labour hold with a small swing from Conservative to Labour, and UKIP a distant third…

    Lab 52.5%
    Con 34%
    UKIP 11.5%
    LD 2%

  44. Seaton Ward By-election, 19.10.17:

    Putting Hartlepool First 474 32% (+3%)
    Sue Little (Ind) 425 28% (+2%)
    Labour 275 18% (+4%)
    Conservative 180 12% (+6%)
    UKIP 148 10% (-14%)

    Commiserations to popular local Sue Little who missed out by fewer than 100 votes for the third time [A friend from school lives & works in Hartlepool and said she’s well known]

  45. A BBC documentary about the effects of high unemployment in Hartlepool:


    The sort of program which was commonplace from the 1980s onwards but this was made in 1962.

    The producer of the program is listed as Jack Ashley, who I think might have been the future Stoke South MP.

  46. Victoria Ward By-election, 16.11.17:

    Labour 479 53% (+ 11%)
    UKIP 325 36% (+ 13%)
    Cons 98 11% (-1%)

  47. That must be UKIP’s best result anywhere for quite a while. Not too bad for Labour though.

  48. Someone was saying ukips organisation in Hartlepool is better than most places the same is true of thurrock apparently. Maybe they wont lose too many in thurrock in may

  49. Yes, Hartlepool is a decent area for them.

    Often the organisation is secondary to the demographics in terms of electoral performance… in Harrogate they had plenty of cash and at one stage many moons ago it might have been seen as an area of potential success.

    Indeed they had a councillor elected there on North Yorks CC.

    When people are writing their UKIP obituaries they will look back in astonishment that the party it became ever had people elected in Harrogate, or in Rochester.

    Thurrock will be their ‘Rorke’s Drift’ though I think. If they go down there next year it really is 100% over.

  50. True, plus didn’t someone on here point out that UKIP actually achieved a higher % in the seats they did fight in the 2017 GE, than in 2015 (when obviously they stood in almost all).

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