Dr. Paul Williams, Labor’s candidate for the May 6th Hartlepool by-election, told LabourList in an exclusive interview that he would not advocate joining the European Union because “I do not want to return”.
Labor has decided not to work to get Britain back to join the EU. Keir Starmer said there was “no reason” for this move. Williams, who was MP for Stockton South between 2017 and 2019, agrees with the stance.
When asked if he would exclude participation in a campaign to reverse the 2016 referendum result, the Labor candidate, who as a MP broke the whip to oppose Brexit and support a new EU referendum, said: “I don’t feel like going back.
“By that I mean going back in time politically, but also returning to the European Union. We’re outside the European Union, I don’t want to go back. I want to be successful where we are now. “
Williams added, “If I’m lucky enough to have the Hartlepool people elect me as a MP, I’ll make sure it’s Hartlepool who’s most successful from where we are now.”
As a Member of Parliament for Stockton South, Williams was a key activist for the referendum and a supporter of the anti-Brexit organization “Best for Britain”. Almost 70% of Hartlepool residents voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.
A Survation poll commissioned this week by the party-affiliated union CWU found that sticking to Westminster headquarters would be an uphill battle for Labor following the sudden resignation of former incumbent Mike Hill.
In 2019, Labor won it with 37% of the vote when the pro-Brexit vote was split between the Tories and the Brexit Party, which received 28.9% and 25.8% of the vote, respectively. The new poll found that the Tories are now seven points ahead.
“I mean, obviously you prefer to be ahead of the polls than back. But in fact, it turned out that of the 502 people they called, 200 either hadn’t decided yet or didn’t say so. This is very much in line with what we hear on the doorstep.
“It’s a choice that can be won for us with the right, positive campaign, and people are really interested on the doorstep in the issues… If we get our messages right with people then I think this is there to be won. Williams said.
When asked how he plans to secure a Labor victory, the candidate told LabourList, “You never tell the Hartlepool people what to do – when you come here, the people will be very proud of our city and we will be very proud don’t like to know what to do. “
He said Hartlepool voters “know me more as a local doctor” than an ex-MP, having been the local GP director and running Covid clinics in the area. “People don’t see me as an outsider at all, they see me as part of this city.”
Williams reported a “really positive plan” for the region. The first is improving health services, which have moved away from Hartlepool due to cuts, forcing residents to travel out of town for hospital appointments.
The second part of his plan relates to policing and crime, with a pledge to “reopen the lost cells in the police station”, “reintroduce policing to the community” and to work with an anti-social behavior task force.
In third place are jobs like those threatened on site at Liberty Steel and those recently visited by Starmer at the nuclear power plant. Fourth is “how I would act as a MP”, specifically opening a constituency office in the city.
An added complication with the Hartlepool by-election, as with all local, mayoral and other May 6th elections, is that the coronavirus rules have an impact on the local election campaign – usually one of Labor’s main strengths.
“We don’t want people from other regions of the country to come here unless, of course, it involves specially organized visits that are carried out in a Covid-safe manner,” Williams confirmed to LabourList when he visited Labor after a visit -Activist was asked.
“But people all over the country can help us with the dialogue [Labour’s phonebanking app] and people from the region can come here. We have teams of people traveling in a Covid-safe manner, all wearing face covers, every two meters apart.
“We are also two meters away from the people on the doorstep. And we have a lot of teams going out every day … I would really ask people who can help, even if it’s only an hour or two for this campaign.
“Every single vote here will make a difference. I think the [Survation] A poll we saw shows that by using Dialogue, Labor activists can really help. “
The family doctor and ex-MP Dr. Paul Williams was announced as a Labor candidate for the upcoming Hartlepool general election last month after being the only candidate long list by a three-person panel.