A Hartlepool MP’s resignation has raised serious questions for Keir Starmer’s Labour Party

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Mike Hill has quit as an MP, Labour has confirmed, triggering a by-election.

Red Wall

The sudden announcement sets up a fresh electoral contest in Hartlepool, a seat long-held by Labour, marking the first test of Keir Starmer’s leadership since taking over from Jeremy Corbyn last year.

A party spokesperson said:

Mike Hill has resigned as Member of Parliament for Hartlepool with immediate effect

Hill appeared to have deleted his Twitter account as of 16 March. The 57-year-old had represented the North East of England town since 2017.

The Hartlepool by-election is set to be Sir Keir Starmer's first major electoral challenge since becoming Labour leader
 Keir Starmer (Leon Neal/PA)

He held off a Conservative and Brexit Party challenge at the last election but saw his majority slashed by more than half to just under 3,600.

Claims

Hill’s resignation follows reports that he used taxpayers’ money to fight a staff member’s claim of unfair dismissal, sexual assault, and harassment. According to the Sunday Times, he claimed £2,000 on parliamentary expenses for the excess on his employment liability policy. The newspaper said he had failed to keep his name secret in the legal proceedings.

Bookmaker Coral has made the Tories odds-on favourites to win the by-election at 1-2, with Labour at 13-8 to retain the seat that was once held by Peter Mandelson, a former cabinet minister and one of the architects of New Labour.

The bookies’ spokesperson John Hill said:

Labour have won every election in Hartlepool since this seat was first contested in 1974, however, our betting suggests the Conservatives could break that stronghold in this by-election in what would be a huge blow for Keir Starmer.

Novara Media‘s Aaron Bastani speculated on how Labour will deal with the by-election:

The seat will also be contested by a Northern English separatist party:

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  • Show Comments
    1. If the Tories win, Nandy’s mantra of “Labour must change or die” will be shown to have been almost right: “Labour must change and die”. In his campaign for leader Starmer warned against “over-steering”; but this is just what he has done. Why? He has proven to be pusillanimous but worse, he dances to the tune of the B o D and has no vision. Starmer, Nandy and co may be killing off the Labour Party in the most egregious display of political suicide in British history. Just at the time when the pandemic gives the left the arguments it needs on the NHS, social care, the public sector in general and inequality – Labour is silent. The message is clear: we will change nothing; we stand for nothing other than getting to power. Not even Blair believed you could offer that and win. He, despicable though he was, knew you had to put up some display of having some fight in you and wanting to change something. Starmer approaches politics like a hen-pecked husband fearful of telling his wife the wallpaper she’s chosen is ghastly. He is surrounded by sound-bite generators who read the script and never deviate; people with no originality and a terror of offending the middle-classes. If he loses this, he is floating face down in very deep and dirty water and no one will throw him a lifeline.

    2. Starmer is a hen pecked husband. He is owned and dictated to by Israeli interests. Pandering to the representatives of these interests is his only concern and he basically has no other motivation, thus his negative attitude to all other issues.
      The Northern Independence Party is news to me but they seem to share the same idea as Scottish Nationalists, they want to be free of the capitalist domination of the City of London and their servants in the Tory Party.
      Now, of course Starmer has become one of the servants and his pro-Israeli obsession is not orientated towards Judaism as much as it is orientated towards Israel as a focus of right wing (capitalist) politics.
      I do not hope Starmer will float in deep water. I hope he will sink!

    3. Northern Independence Party. We shall see where the populace stands, and the huge social changes reflected in leaving the EU with Brexit.
      No election for a long time with the pace of change going at light speed on the issues.
      No EU -to joining Scotland in its independence move?

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