Tories Ask UKIP Not to Field Candidate in Hartlepool

The Tories have asked UKIP not to field a candidate in Hartlepool to try to help them win the seat from Labour. The incumbent Labour MP Iain Wright is standing down and leaves behind a precarious 3,024 majority. The Tory request to UKIP, sent by the Tory group leader on Hartlepool Council Ray Martin-Wells, asks:

“Following on from UKIP’s decision not to stand in Middlesborough South, Tynemouth and Berwick, we would respectfully ask you to withdraw your parliamentary candidate in Hartlepool… Hartlepool constituency polls are showing that UKIP has only a predicted 6% chance of winning, against Labour’s 34% and the Conservatives 50%… your chances of winning are extremely low…” 

Is this an attractive proposition for UKIP? The UKIP candidate came second in Hartlepool in 2015, several thousand votes ahead of the Tories. It’s a council stronghold and a target parliamentary seat, where it was rumoured Paul Nuttall himself might have stood. And the “constituency polls” quoted by the Tories are only local newspaper surveys. Indeed, UKIP have rejected the proposal and instead suggested:

“I call upon you now to choose to do the decent thing and step aside yourselves…”

A real three way marginal…


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