LABOUR'S candidate for the upcoming Hartlepool by-election was joined by two MPs for a visit to meet veterans.

Paul Williams, a doctor who has been working on the frontline during the pandemic, was joined by Lisa Nandy MP for Wigan and Shadow Foreign Secretary and John Healey MP for Wentworth and Dearne and Shadow Defence Secretary.

Today (Thursday), they visited Heugh Gun Battery in the town to discuss the support veterans are offered when they leave the forces.

This morning, Dr Williams said: "I've been meeting veterans this morning. I knew one of the veterans and have come across a patient who was homeless. I helped provide him with support. It feels we should be treating these people, who have served as heroes, with respect and the services they need for the rest of their lives.

"People fall through the gaps. I want to show my commitment with the veterans in Hartlepool.

"We need better support and services for veterans in Hartlepool. I would love to work on this with Jessie Joe Jacobs [Labour's candidate for Tees Valley Mayor] or whoever is mayor."

Dr Williams also said he wanted to support veterans with mental health and other disabilities.

He said: "People have disabilities in the service. It's important that we help these people, with mental health problems, and the trauma and feelings of loss when they leave the service and feel abandoned."

Ms Nandy said: "We asked to come and meet veterans today, if we want to level up places like Hartlepool, you have to level up the people in them - invest in young veterans, recognise the skills and potential they have in places like Hartlepool. I can't think of a better place to show what Hartlepool can do."

n Other candidates standing for the Hartlepool by-election: David Bettney, Social Democratic Party; The Incredible Flying Brick, Monster Raving Loony Party; Hilton Dawson, The North East Party; Gemma Evans, Women's Equality Party; Rachel Featherstone, The Green Party; Adam Gaines, Independent; Andrew Hagon, Liberal Democrat; Steve Jack, Freedom Alliance; Chris Killick; Sam Lee, Independent; Claire Martin, Heritage Party; Jill Mortimer, Conservative Party; John Prescott, Reform UK; Thelma Walker, Independent; and W. Ralph Ward-Jackson, Independent.