Mike Hill, the Labour MP who has represented Hartlepool since being elected for the first time in the 2017 general election, is quitting the House of Commons, The Times revealed today.
A Labour Party spokesperson told LabourList: “Mike Hill has resigned as Member of Parliament for Hartlepool with immediate effect.”
It is expected that a by-election will be held on May 6th alongside local, mayoral, police and crime commissioner elections taking place across the country, plus Scottish and Welsh parliament contests.
A spokesperson for the local Labour party said: “Our priority now is to ensure a candidate is in place quickly and we start work immediately on sharing Labour’s positive vision for Hartlepool.
“Over the past ten years Hartlepool has been battered by the Tories down in Westminster… Labour stands up for Hartlepool and we’re proud of the town and believe in its future.”
Hill was suspended from the Labour Party in September 2019 and had the whip withdrawn amid allegations that he sexually harassed a woman who worked in parliament.
But the Hartlepool MP, a former UNISON regional organiser, was readmitted to the party the following month, despite the allegations not being withdrawn. Hill strongly denies the allegations.
It was reported in November last year that the MP claimed £2,000 of public money as part of costs linked to the sexual harassment case, which is set to be heard at an employment tribunal in May.
The expenses in January 2020 were for “employment liability policy excess”, according to records published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.
She described it as an “important and high-profile case”, alleged “the significant abuse of power by a public figure” and said her mental health and ability to work had been “severely impacted”.
Hartlepool was held by Labour with a majority of 7,650 in 2017 and a majority of just 3,595 in 2019. UKIP placed second in the constituency in 2015, when it was won by Labour’s Iain Wright.
The seat was represented by Peter Mandelson, a chief architect of New Labour, between the 1992 general election and a by-election in 2004, at which point Labour’s majority was much reduced.
LabourList has contacted Mike Hill for comment.