TODAY the Conservative party chair and the Tees Valley Mayor visited Hartlepool to leaflet ahead of the by-election and mayoral elections.

The MP for Hartlepool, Mike Hill, resigned on Tuesday amid an ongoing sexual harassment investigation.

Yesterday the Labour party announced Paul Williams, formerly the MP for Stockton South from 2017 until 2019, would contest the seat for the party.

When asked whether the Conservative Party had chosen a candidate, Amanda Milling, Conservative Party chair, said: "We are in the process of selecting a candidate. We have to make sure it's a rigorous process and that it is the best candidate that will stand up for the people of Hartlepool.

"Once we're in a position to announce we'll be letting everyone know."

Ms Milling said: "We're being really realistic. We haven't held this seat for such a long time. It's going to be a tough battle. We've been in government for 11 years, government doesn't typically win by-elections.

READ MORE: MP for Hartlepool resigns with immediate effect meaning by-election will be held

"We will see what happens. The fact that Mike Hill had to resign says an awful lot.

"We've got Ben Houchen - a fantastic mayor for the Tees Valley, we've had some fantastic new MPs elected across the Tees Valley. What they've done and what Ben has done demonstrates what the Conservatives can deliver as mayor or MP - demonstrating what we can deliver for the Tees Valley and the people of Hartlepool.

"You have to look at the recent announcement of the Freeport, Ben and the other MPs are making a difference."

The Northern Echo:

Ms Milling added: "The Conservatives are delivering on people's priorities. Let's go back to 2016 referendum - we delivered Brexit. We did what we said we were going to do with Brexit. We've been delivering on a lot of our promises at the General Election.

"By having a Conservative Mayor we have a real strong voices for the Conservative up here, up in the Tees Valley area. I want Hartlepool to be able to have one of those voices too."

READ MORE: Labour by-election candidate apologises after ‘Tory MILF’ tweet emerges

On the announcement that Dr Paul Williams will stand for Labour, Ms Milling said: "Paul Williams has had quite a turbulent few days.

"Looking at his track record he's an arch remainer."

READ MORE: Criticism after Labour's candidate for Hartlepool steps down from Police and Crime Commissioner race

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: "I am here for the upcoming election on May 6.

"I think it's an important thing to try and win the Hartlepool seat, if you look aty the work we've been doing with Peter Gibson MP of Darlington and Jacob Young MP of Redcar. It makes my life easier to interact with a local MP that wants to work with me.

"People have been asking, but I am not the candidate for Hartlepool. I would never jump ship. To jump ship would be wrong. I already represent the people of Hartlepool."

Folllowing the announcement that Dr Williams will be the Labour candidate for the Hartlepool by-election, it has been confirmed he will not be standing for Cleveland's next Police and Crime Commissioner.