AS the candidates for the Redcar constituency pound the streets looking for support there is one thing on everybody’s mind – unemployment.

Since the closure of the SSI steelworks about 18 months ago, with the subsequent loss of about 2,000 jobs, many people have struggled to find alternative work.

People are proud of the steel heritage which runs deep in the history of the area and would love to have the steelworks back up-and-running.

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That, though, is now an impossibility, but people want to know where jobs will be available for future generations.

The Redcar seat has been historically safe for Labour seat but, in the fall-out over the closure of the steelworks, it fell into the hands of the Liberal Democrats for five years in 2010.

The Northern Echo:

CANDIDATE: Anna Turley, Labour Party

Anna Turley won it back for Labour in 2015 with a 10,000 majority, but the polls suggest it will be a closer race this time.

Ms Turley was heavily involved in campaigns to save the steelworks and since their closure, has worked to secure debates on the future of the steel industry.

“We need a Labour government to deliver for the whole country,” said Ms Turley. “For two years I have fought tooth and nail for this area and I will continue to stand up for Redcar and Teesside in the face of the poor deal we get from the Tories. Labour stand for a fairer, stronger and more decent Britain and that is what I will be campaigning for in the run up to June 8.”

The Northern Echo:

CANDIDATE: Peter Gibson, Conservative Party

Conservative candidate Peter Gibson, a solicitor based in Thirsk, said the area has great potential and he believes being born and raised in Redcar gives him a good understand of what people need.

“The area can be so much better than it is now,” he said. “What we actually need is a strategy. We need to bring together all the industrial people and working with the new Tees Valley mayor we can bring in new opportunities.

“People are deeply proud of where they come from. They need to trust their instincts and believe that every vote counts. Redcar needs something different and if people give me a chance I will prove there are no no go areas.”

The Northern Echo:

CANDIDATE: Josh Mason, Liberal Democrats

Josh Mason, who stood against Ms Turley for the Lib Dems in 2015, said: “Nothing is certain by any stretch of the imagination. It is happening all over the country. Anything is up for grabs.

“What people are really concerned about is not just their jobs but what will be available for future generations. We need to provide them with opportunities. After SSI, it wasn’t just the people who worked there but businesses locally. People are rightly concerned about it.

“I am passionate and care deeply about this area. For generations we have had a Labour monopoly in the North-East and that has not done us any good.”

The Northern Echo:

CANDIDATE: Chris Gallacher, UKIP

Ukip candidate Chris Gallacher, who came a close third two years ago, said he wanted the opportunities to go to the local workforce.

“There are a lot of really good opportunities in Redcar. The trouble is when they come along they are getting mopped up by foreign labour and we want to change that.

“Circumstances are not the best, having said that more and more people are voting Ukip. We are not the flavour of the month but we are an honest party trying to make a difference.”

Northern Echo political commentator Chris Lloyd says...

IN 2015, Redcar was one of Labour’s few bright spots. The party had lost the seaside seat in 2010 by 5,000 votes to the Lib Dems, which was partly a backlash against the closure of the steelworks but also a rejection of Labour’s local complacency.

However, in the last election Anna Turley, a protege of the former North West Durham MP Hilary Armstrong, ousted the Lib Dems and was returned with a whopping 10,000 majority.

Since then, Ms Turley has been visible and effective, passionately backing the steelworkers but also finding time for national issues like animal cruelty.

But at the EU referendum she was vocally remain whereas Redcar returned a 67 per cent out vote – only Hartlepool in the North-East was more out.

She may also have been out of tune with her traditional Labour areas – such as Grangetown and Eston – by being so against her leader, Jeremy Corbyn. However, the bookies have her as favourite to win the seat, and the real election action is next door in the realistic Tory target of Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland.

In 2015...

Electorate: 64,825
Turnout: 63.12%

Anna Turley (Lab) 17,946
Josh Mason (Lib Dem) 7,558
Chris Gallacher (UKIP) 7,516
Jacob Young (Con) 6,630
Peter Pinkney (Green) 880
Philip Lockey (NEP) 389

Lab majority: 10,388