Hartlepool voter explains to James O'Brien why Tories took 'iconic' Labour seat

7 May 2021, 14:37

By Fiona Jones

This Labour voter from Hartlepool explains to James O'Brien why the Conservatives took this key seat for the first time in history.

The seat turned blue, electing Jill Mortimer as MP, after being held by Labour for almost 50 years. Her 15,529 votes were nearly 7,000 ahead of Labour's candidate Paul Williams who polled 8,589.

Read more: 'The people of Hartlepool aren't daft,' newly-elected MP Jill Mortimer tells LBC

Former prominent Labour MP Phil Wilson told LBC's Nick Ferrari in response: "I know Paul very well and he's excellent, he would have been a great MP for Hartlepool. I don't think it was necessarily the candidate...I think the Labour Party's got a big problem."

James questioned Hartlepool caller Cath who voted Labour said, "I think Boris Johnson is populist, he says things that people want to hear. Unfortunately I've heard things that I don't want to hear.

"I don't want to hear 'the bodies piling up'," she said, referencing the PM's controversial Covid comments.

"I think the reason why the Conservatives won are they're saying the things people want to hear whether it's true or not. It's soundbites," Cath said.

"I think a lot of it is to do with the fact that [constituents] do want a change in terms of...the crisis that we're going through with coronavirus, it's the vaccine, it's we've got yourself through this, it's we've put economic measures in place."

James reflected that the vaccine is impressive and the furlough scheme has helped millions of people through, which has "allowed people to look away from the death toll."

Read more: Hartlepool: 'Labour's got a big problem,' says former MP, as Tories win 'iconic' seat

Cath said: "I think people want to get back to some kind of normality and I think Johnson is pushing that normality: we're vaccinating you, we've got a successful rollout, we seem to be hitting the milestones."

James surmised the PM is going down the route of "give me your support to keep this rolling."

The Hartlepool constituent says fellow voters look at the PM and see "fun time Boris whereas they look at Keir Starmer and they don't see that.

"I think people see Boris and think he's just like us," Cath said, "he's got no interest in Hartlepool, he's already moved on from Hartlepool."

Read more: Elections 2021: James O'Brien gives his instant reaction