Hartlepool by-election, 2004


Hartlepool by-election, 2004

On July 23, 2004, the Member of Parliament for Hartlepool, in England, Peter Mandelson (Labour), was nominated as the United Kingdom's new European Commissioner. On September 8 he accepted the office of Steward of the Manor of Northstead, thereby disqualifying himself from Parliament and causing a by-election. Polling took place on September 30.

Results

Out of a registered electorate of 68,517, there were 31,362 valid votes, making a turnout of 45.77%. This was the highest by-election turnout since the Romsey by-election in May 2000.

The Labour Party candidate Iain Wright won the seat with a majority of 2,033, a substantially reduced majority. The Liberal Democrat vote more than doubled, leaving them a close second. The UK Independence Party held their deposit and beat the Conservatives into third place. The Conservative vote dropped considerably, leaving them in fourth place for the first time in an English by-election since Liverpool Walton in 1991.

Election box candidate with party link
party = Labour Party (UK)
candidate = Iain Wright
votes = 12,752
percentage = 40.7
change = -18.5
Election box candidate with party link
party = Liberal Democrats (UK)
candidate = Jody Dunn
votes = 10,719
percentage = 34.2
change = +19.2
Election box candidate with party link
party = United Kingdom Independence Party
candidate = Stephen Allison
votes = 3,193
percentage = 10.2
change =
Election box candidate with party link
party = Conservative Party (UK)
candidate = Jeremy Middleton
votes = 3,044
percentage = 9.7
change = -11.1
Election box candidate with party link
party = RESPECT The Unity Coalition
candidate = John Bloom
votes = 572
percentage = 1.8
change =
Election box candidate with party link
party = Green Party of England and Wales
candidate = Iris Ryder
votes = 255
percentage = 0.8
change =
Election box candidate with party link
party = British National Front
candidate = John Starkey
votes = 246
percentage = 0.8
change =
Election box candidate
party = Independent (Fathers 4 Justice)
candidate = Peter Watson
votes = 139
percentage = 0.4
change =
Election box candidate with party link
party = Socialist Labour Party (UK)
candidate = Christopher Herriot
votes = 95
percentage = 0.3
change = -2.1
Election box candidate with party link
party = The Common Good
candidate = Rev Dick Rodgers
votes = 91
percentage = 0.3
change =
Election box candidate
party = Independent (politician)
candidate = Philip Berriman
votes = 90
percentage = 0.3
change =
Election box candidate with party link
party = Official Monster Raving Loony Party
candidate = Alan Hope
votes = 80
percentage = 0.3
change =
Election box candidate
party = Independent (Rainbow)
candidate = Ronnie Carroll
votes = 45
percentage = 0.1
change =
Election box candidate with party link
party = English Democrats Party
candidate = Ed Abrams
votes = 41
percentage = 0.1
change =
Election box majority
votes = 2,033
percentage = 6.5
change =
Election box turnout
votes = 31,362
percentage = 45.77
change =

Robert Kilroy-Silk of UKIP initially suggested he might stand but later ruled this out, as did Hartlepool and Middlesbrough mayors Stuart Drummond and Ray Mallon.

Preceding by-elections had seen the Liberal Democrats come from third place to beat the Conservative Party, and in Brent East and Leicester South take seats from Labour. The seat was safer (judging by the 2001 result) than Leicester but was vulnerable to swings such as achieved in Brent, or in Birmingham Hodge Hill where the Lib Dems narrowly failed to win.

In the event the Liberal Democrats were not quite able to repeat these performances. Their campaign suffered by the choice of a candidate who was not from Hartlepool, while the Labour candidate had been born and brought up in the town. In addition the Liberal Democrat candidate made reference, on a campaign blog, to having canvassed a street where everyone she met "was either drunk, flanked by an ugly dog, or undressed"; Labour gave wide publicity to this remark and asserted that it was an insult to the people of Hartlepool.

Hartlepool had no significant ethnic minority vote, which had been present in the other three by-elections. The Liberal Democrats were nevertheless content to claim the large swing to them and the Conservatives' fourth place, established the Lib Dems as the main opposition party to Labour. The UK Independence Party did well in Hartlepool with a local candidate, and their message of opposition to European Union fishing rules was a popular one in a port town.

The Conservatives dropped from second place at the 2001 general election to fourth place, their worst place in an English by-election since the Liverpool Walton by-election, 1991

Labour regarded the result as good news for them as it came at the end of a very long campaign (effectively 71 days) and with a swing markedly smaller than in other seats over the previous year. Labour also regarded the result - along with that in Hodge Hill - as a vindication of their decision to aggressively attack the Liberal Democrats and essentially ignore the Conservative challenge.

2001 result

From the 2001 general election.Election box begin
title=General Election 2001: Hartlepool
Election box candidate with party link
party = Labour Party (UK)
candidate = Peter Mandelson
votes = 22,506
percentage = 59.1
change = -1.6
Election box candidate with party link
party = Conservative Party (UK)
candidate = Gus Robinson
votes = 7,935
percentage = 20.9
change = -0.5
Election box candidate with party link
party = Liberal Democrats (UK)
candidate = Nigel Boddy
votes = 5,717
percentage = 15.0
change = +1.0
Election box candidate with party link
party = Socialist Labour Party (UK)
candidate = Arthur Scargill
votes = 912
percentage = 2.4
change = "N/A"
Election box candidate with party link
party = Independent (politician)
candidate = Ian Cameron
votes = 557
percentage = 1.5
change = "N/A"
Election box candidate with party link
party = Independent (politician)
candidate = John Booth
votes = 424
percentage = 1.1
change = "N/A"
Election box majority
votes = 14,571
percentage = 38.2
change =
Election box turnout
votes = 38,051
percentage = 55.8
change = -9.8
Election box hold with party link
winner = Labour Party (UK)
swing =

External links

* [http://www.geocities.com/by_elections/hartlepool04.html Hartlepool by-election leaflets]


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