UKIP's first MP in Hartlepool
This blog was launched on BBC Radio Cleveland at 7.30 this morning by the editor, Peter Troy
Hartlepool 2004 will aim to be the first with the news of UKIP's campaign in Hartlepool. We welome constructive comments.
At a public meeting in the Grand Hotel in July last year Roger Knapman UKIP leader and former Conservative party whip said ''the North East which is the most eurosceptic region of the UK, will return UKIP's first MP''. Mr Knapman, an experienced politican of principle, is correct.
At the elections for the European Parliament on 10 June UKIP achieved second place in Hartlepool with 5,508 votes to Labour's 8,295. The Conservative party were third with 4,332 and the Lib Dems trailed fourth with 3,469. Neil Herron who campaigned on an anti-UKIP stance achieved 1,469. Clearly UKIP and Heron's combined vote of 7,077 will have been viewed with horror in the towns Labour party office.
Though no date has been formally set yet for the by-election it is widely expected to be on 4 November, the same day as the elected regional assembly referendum which will be held by postal voting. This will be in conflict with the traditional turn up and vote system which is how the by-election will have to be conducted.
There is considerable media speculation in the North East as to who the Parliamentary Candidates will be. The only certainty at this time is that the former Conservative Candidate, Gus Robinson who came second in the last general election will stand as an Independent. There is speculation that David Bowe a former MEP for Cleveland will be selected as the Labour Candidate.
UKIP's candidate has yet to be announced. Selecting the best candidate who will become our first MP needs careful consideration.
Chris Williamson, who was today confirmed by UKIP leader Roger Knapman as the election Agent, has sourced some excellent office accommodation and equipment. As reported in Fridays Guardian the planning for this campaign is already underway. Meetings were held two weeks ago and Chris and I discussed key issues in Mr Blair's high profile local 'The Dunn Cow' in Sedgfield on Friday. Chris together with the campaign team will be outlining detailed plans for the strategy team meeting in Hartlepool next week..
Clive Page of Hillhead Associates who successfully controlled the Scottish UKIP media campaign for the EUP elections will be in directing the 'Hartlepool 2004' in conjunction with the party's Director of Communications, Mark Croucher.
UKIP activists from Inverness to Exeter have pledged their support for 'Hartlepool 2004' , the biggest problem will be arranging accommodation for them all.
There will also be a UKIP Hartlepool by-election link from http://www.ukip.org/ which will be launched on Sunday evening.
Volunteers should contact Chris Williamson on
0191 377 9316 or 077131 67002