JILL Mortimer said she has 'hit the ground running' as the Prime Minister visited the region to support her on the campaign trail.

Ms Mortimer, who is running for the Conservatives in Hartlepool in the May 6 by-election, said she promised to do all she could to make positive changes in the town if elected.

She is vying to become the first Conservative MP for Hartlepool since the seat was created in 1974.

She said: "I think people have already seen what has happened in the last four years with Mayor Houchen and the positive changes that our new Conservative MPs have been building on over the last two years.

"And I think that the people of Hartlepool would like to have a share of that, bringing the positive changes and looking towards the future here."

The Labour Party has selected Dr Paul Williams to defend the heartlands seat after the resignation of Mike Hill.