Piece for The Sunday Sun on the upcoming by-election in Middlesbrough

THE contest to become Middlesborough’s new MP is in full swing now the line-up from the three main parties is complete.

On November 29 the public will vote for the replacement of Sir Stuart Bell, who passed away last month.

Labour has held the seat since 1974. But both the Tories and Lib Dems hope to end that run in a town where, they say, Labour have taken the people for granted.

Labour’s campaign officially opened on Friday with candidate Andy McDonald hailed as “the local choice” and the solicitor saying his selection was one of the proudest moments of his life.

He said his aim was to make the struggle experienced by some in Middlesbrough fully known.

He added: “I have got to be a voice for them so it is understood in Westminster just how these draconian Tory policies impact on ordinary people’s lives.” However two politicians, both born and bred in Middlesbrough, are hoping to cause an upset.

The Conservatives selected Stockton councillor Ben Houchen following a meeting with local members yesterday.

He said it was a dream come true and that a Labour victory was not a foregone conclusion.

“Being born and bred here, I really relish the opportunity to campaign for the community that has given me so much during my life here. For too long, Labour have taken the town for granted.

“Labour have failed local businesses and the people of Middlesbrough for decades and it cannot be allowed to go on. The Labour Party think they just need to turn up and win, and it’s that complacency and contempt for the people of Middlesbrough that I cannot accept.

“We deserve better and I hope to convince people during the campaign that they don’t have to settle for yet another Teesside Labour MP.”

The Lib Dems chose Middlesbrough- born George Selmer, who has spent most of his life trying to get people back to work in the region. “We need an MP who will tackle the shocking local housing problems and who will fight against the cuts imposed by the Labour Council,” he said.

Among the other candidates is the Peace Party’s Imdad Hussain, a Bradford councillor who was suspended from the Labour Party after failing to tell them he had been banned as the director of a company.

Richard Elvin will be standing on behalf of UKIP and John Malcolm will run for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition.

In 2010, Sir Stuart won by a majority of over 8,500 votes beating the Lib Dems.

However only half of those who could vote did so, suggesting that Middlesbrough’s new MP could be going into Parliament with a very low majority if a similar number turnout.

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