‘JOBS not sleaze’ is what the Labour party brings to Hartlepool said leader Keir Starmer on a recent visit to the North-East.

Sir Keir was in Hartlepool on Friday to support Dr Paul Williams as part of Labour’s by-election campaign which culminates on May 6.

The pair took a tour round the town’s Cameron’s Brewery and said that they were ‘fighting for every vote’ in Hartlepool and working hard to win back Labour voters’ trust.

Mr Starmer slammed Boris Johnson for running a ‘government by what’s app’ in reference to the recent controversy over the Prime Minister’s message contact with James Dyson regarding tax rules and phone message lobbying by ministers.

The Northern Echo:

Keir Starmer and Dr Paul Williams were given a tour of Cameron's Brewery in Hartlepool

He said: “Everybody here in Hartlepool is talking about jobs, jobs, jobs and what we are getting from the government is sleaze, sleaze, sleaze.

“There is a deep sense that there is one rule for them and one rule for everybody else.”

Mr Starmer said Labour has a plan to create 400,000 jobs in the green energy sector in the region and would also focus on getting young people back into employment.

He announced a £30bn green economic recovery plan focussing on investment and jobs creation in the steel, offshore wind, automotive and aerospace industries.

And with polls suggesting that the Conservatives are leading the Hartlepool by-election race, Mr Starmer said he wants voters to know that Labour is committed to bringing jobs to the region not only now, but for the next generation too.

He said: “We have a plan for long-term jobs; we are fighting for everybody.

“We have got just under two weeks to go and we are fighting for every vote.

The Northern Echo:

Keir Starmer leans in to talk to a motorist in Hartlepool as Dr Paul Williams looks on

“We have got an excellent candidate and we have got a good story to tell about the future of Hartlepool with jobs, jobs, jobs.”

And Mr Starmer said it is vital that investment is poured into Hartlepool to create jobs ‘right now’.

He said: “What we can’t have is this investment over years and years and years, it needs to be front-loaded now for these jobs because millions of people are going to be coming off furlough and the biggest single risk is that we have high levels of unemployment - and people in Hartlepool and the North-East do not want to see that.”

Mr Starmer criticised the government’s Kickstart scheme which funds job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds, saying it is not helping enough youngsters back into work.

He said: “The other thing that needs to happen here and now is investing in younger people.

The Northern Echo:

Keir Starmer and Dr Paul Williams enjoy a pint at Cameron's Brewery in Hartlepool

“Lots of those who are under 25 have lost their job in Hartlepool and across the North-East and at the moment, only four per cent of those who have lost their job in the last 12-months are being helped back into work through Kickstart.

“So what we need is what the Labour party is offering which is anybody under 25 who has been out of work for more than six months, there is an offer of employment or training or education because we cannot leave the next generation behind as we come out of this pandemic.”