Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer was declared the winner of the Hartlepool by-election around 7am this morning, having secured over 50 per cent of the vote. Dr Sinem Hidir, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick, comments:
"This is a huge loss for Labour as for the first time over 56 years a Conservative MP wins the Hartlepool seat. The Conservatives seem to have gained most of the votes cast for the Brexit party in 2019 - some of whom will previously have been Labour voters. Labour seems to have additionally lost some of its voters from 2019, with its vote share falling from 29% to 20%.
"It is very worrying for Labour that the effect of Brexit may be here to stay, and that one year under new leadership has not helped much in terms of regaining those voters.
"What can we infer?
"The recent scandal about Downing Street refurbishment and accusations of sleaze in the government did not cut through to voters and the policy of levelling up still wins in the Red Wall areas.
"And the success of vaccine rollout seems to outweigh the controversies about decisions made earlier in the pandemic by the government."
7 May 2021
Media Relations Manager
University of Warwick