Following the resignation of Labour’s Mike Hill, there will be a parliamentary by-election in Hartlepool on 6 May, alongside the local elections.
Since it was created in 1974, the seat has never elected a Conservative MP, but this looks set to change next month according to polling and the bookmakers.
There will be 16 candidates on the ballot paper, though it looks set to be a two-horse race between Jill Mortimer, the Tory candidate, and Labour’s Dr Paul Williams.
Who is leading in the polls in the Hartlepool by-election?
Polling carried out by Survation on behalf of ITV’s Good Morning Britain found that the Conservatives are on course to take the seat.
A poll of 517 people in Hartlepool between 23 to 29 April gave Tory candidate Jill Mortimer a considerable 17-point lead over Paul Williams, the Labour candidate.
The by-election seemed likely to be closely-fought but the Conservatives could well be capitalising on a “vaccine bounce”, while questions remain about Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s popularity.
These are the polling results:
Jill Mortimer, Conservative Party: 50% (+1)
Paul Williams, Labour Party: 33% (-9)
Thelma Walker, Independent: 6% (+4)
Sam Lee, Independent: 6% (+6)
Rachel Featherstone, Green Party: 3% (+2)
Andrew Hagon, Liberal Democrat Party: 1% (-)
John Prescott, Reform UK: 1% (-)
Hilton Dawson, North East Party: <1%
Who is the bookies’ favourite to win the Hartlepool by-election?
Political odds are based on the quantity of bets received by the bookmakers for each candidate, rather than opinion polling or political analysis.
A spokesperson for Ladbrokes said: “We are projecting that this will be the biggest betting by-election ever, based on the money we've taken so far.
“When we first opened up the odds, the Tories were favourites, but political punters disagreed and soon Labour took over at the top of the market. That switched back again after a poll was released showing a Tory lead.
“The early gamble on the Northern Independence Party has now fizzled out with Thelma Walker at 100/1.
“In fact the latest odds suggest it's unlikely she will save her deposit; it's a 2 horse race.”
Here are the current odds, according to Ladbrokes.
Jill Mortimer, Conservatives 1/6
Paul Williams, Labour 7/2
Thelma Walker, Independent (backed by Northern Independence Party) 100/1
John Prescott, Reform UK 200/1
Samantha Lee, Independent 200/1
Adam Gaines, Independent 500/1
Rachel Featherstone, Greens 500/1
Andy Hagon, Liberal Democrats 500/1
Hilton Dawson, North East Party 500/1
Ralph Ward-Jackson, Independent 500/1
David Bettney, SDP 500/1
Gemma Evans, Womens’ Equality Party 500/1
Chris Killick, Independent 1000/1
Steve Jack, Freedom Alliance 1000/1
Claire Martin, Heritage Party 1000/1
Nick Delves (The Incredible Flying Brick) Official Monster Raving Loony 1000/1