Hartlepool Labour won a council seat vacated by an Independent in a ward by-election on Thursday 8 September. The by-election in Foggy Furze ward was held to replace Independent councillor Stephen Picton, who had resigned for health reasons.
Labour’s winning candidate with 443 votes – 44% of the ballot – is Carole Thompson, a former nurse. She worked as an Occupational Therapist at the local hospital and hospice for over 20 years before retiring. The vote represents a hike for Labour of 24% on the previous election.
In second place was the Conservative candidate Pamela Shurmer, a pharmaceutical sales representative, winning 391 votes. With 39% of the votes cast, this represents an increase for the Tories of 9% on the last local election.
Independent Connor Stallard and Liberal Democrat Barry McKinstray, came third and fourth with 126 and 49 votes respectively.
The turnout was 1,009.
The result is another step to electoral recovery for the Labour Party who now hold a dozen of the council’s 36 seats.
The Labour party faces a new challenge with another by-election on Thursday 13 October in Throston ward. Labour councillor Amy Prince, who has been in office since 2019, stood down recently due to the twin demands of a new job and council work. She posted on Facebook:
“For those who don’t know I’ve stepped down from the council, I’ve had the absolute privilege of working with some of the most amazing people, not just councillors. Thank you to everyone who helped me, talked to me, taught me something and everything else.
“I appreciate every single one of you.”
Ex-Councillor Prince will be a hard act to follow. With her commitment to casework combined with scarlet hair, tattoos and piercings, she represented a younger generation of Labour councillor. The Labour Group proposed her as Mayor after the last local elections, calling her a “breath of fresh air”.