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Is There a Doctor In

the Ward?

The election material made it clear enough, ‘Put Your Trust in a Real Doctor NOT a UKIP Spin Doctor - Vote for Local Resident Dr Mike McLaughlin Your local Labour Candidate for Headland & Harbour Ward. Both ‘Trust’ and ‘Local’ would seem to be the salient words here. So how much of either should we place in the recently elected Headland & Harbour  Councillor or, for that matter, the Labour Party that supported him? Mike McLaughlin’s election campaign made much use of his A&E doctor credentials even featuring a picture of him in his doctor’s attire complete with stethoscope. There was also an implied linkage to the local North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Trust, since confirmed by way of his Register of Interests lodged after his election with HBC’s Chief Solicitor. Add to this an address at Navigation Point, within the Headland and Harbour ward boundary and all of the boxes would seem to have been ticked for a successful campaign. But there was something troubling about Mike McLaughlin. When the Headland & Harbour by-election arose, the name McLaughlin was not one that we had previously come across and no one seemed able to tell us much about him. In addition, for all of his implied claims of a connection with the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Trust, we couldn’t find anyone at the Trust who had even heard of him. His election pitch which appeared in the Hartlepool Mail emphasised his community commitment, “I’m standing to be the councillor for the ward because I believe our community deserves better. Living in the community I see UKIP’s neglect on the Headland, the Central estate and the Burbank daily. In reality, McLaughlin’s own community was (and still is) in Tooting, Central London and his local knowledge of Hartlepool was still at the elementary stage. His campaign was a cynical one based on subtle suggestion and slight of hand with the duplicitous goal of convincing Headland & Harbour voters that McLaughlin was a local lad working as an A&E Doctor at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Trust - and many of them fell for it. We can at least confirm that Mike McLaughlin is the councillor’s real name and that he is an A&E doctor but unfortunately, that’s about as far as we can go.  GMC Credentials The true story of Mike McLaughlin’s election as a Hartlepool councillor is one of manipulation by what is today, a very London-centric Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. A party that appears to have no problem using voters in its its traditional heartland in the north as mere cannon fodder to further the political career of one of their chosen people. It’s also a story that involves some surprising characters from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan  and even to Prime Minister Theresa May and one that demonstrates just how little respect Labour now has for the electorate.

Dr Who and The Unexpected Journey

Mike McLaughlin lives, not at Navigation Point, but in the Borough of Tooting in London just as he did during his election campaign and for several years before that. He is a Junior doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital, on the other side of the river Thames to the Houses of Parliament, with aspirations to become a consultant. He has no connection to Hartlepool and, prior to May 2017, would probably have needed a map even to locate it. He is a well-known activist within the London Labour set best known for his campaigning for junior doctor’s and the LGBT community. Originally from Northern Ireland, he has lived in Tooting for six years, where he has also been a ward organiser for Labour. His London credentials were strong enough for him to be short-listed by Labour in the competition to become their candidate for the Tooting by-election which followed the election of Sadiq Khan as London Mayor in May 2016. He was one of two doctors short-listed with the other being Rosena Allin-Khan who was born and raised in Tooting where she was also a councillor, once serving as deputy leader of the Labour group on Wandsworth Council. She also worked as an A&E specialist doctor in the local St. George’s Hospital. The two doctors were the clear favourites for selection largely because Tooting had been experiencing an influx of professional, middle-class people. This ‘gentrification’, as Labour dubbed it, had led to an increasing Tory vote in the constituency at the expense of Labour. It was thought that having a doctor as their candidate would help stop the rot. In the end, the local CLP opted for Rosena Allin-Khan over Mike McLaughlin with the runner-up told that he would be found a safe Labour seat ‘up north’ as a consolation prize. Eventually it was decided that safe Labour seat would be Hartlepool, then occupied by Ian Wright.

Iain Wright

There had been rumours for sometime that Hartlepool’s sitting MP, Iain Wright, was facing de- selection. After Labour’s 2015 defeat in the General Election and Ed Milliband’s subsequent resignation as Labour Leader, the party descended into almost two years of navel gazing and in-fighting. Wright, like many others, had initially dismissed any possibility that Jeremy Corbyn could become Leader of the Labour Party and when Corbyn was elected Wright became one of several prominent critics  within the Westminster bubble - though typically of Wright, not publicly. Only after Corbyn won a second Leadership contest did Wright tone down his criticism calling instead for unity within the party. At home, Wright’s relationship with the Hartlepool CLP had been slowly disintegrating for some time. There had been several reasons for this. Wright had been facing a strong challenge from UKIP which had made Hartlepool one of UKIP’s top 10 target seats and the main target in North East England. In addition, the antics of members of the local Labour group under the leadership of Christopher Akers-Belcher had put further pressure on the Labour vote. Weeks before the 2015 election, Wright had been forced to call for an investigation into the behaviour of Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher after he had been caught propagating a serious of lies over the circumstances surrounding his sacking from Newcastle City Council. Even so, Wright went on to see his majority in the 2015 General Election cut to just 3,024 turning Hartlepool into the 35th most vulnerable labour seat in the country. The 69.5% ‘leave’ vote in the 2016 referendum only underlined the threat from UKIP that Wright  faced and his relationship with the local CLP deteriorated further when then CLP refused to fund recommended security improvements to its South terrace HQ in the wake of the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox in 2016. This refusal had forced Wright to relocate his own office into Hartlepool Civic Centre in order to guarantee the safety of his own staff. There’s no way of knowing if Wright had already decided to call it a day but by the beginning of 2017 he found himself working under a leader in whom he had no faith and facing the real threat of losing his own seat. His relationship with the local CLP had broken down and at a time when all of the opinion polls suggested that he would be facing another 5 years in opposition even if he did manage to hang on to his seat.

The Plan

After the second Labour leadership contest which had confirmed, if not reinforced, Jeremy Corbyn’s position as Leader there had been much talk of a wave of de-selections, particularly within the Momentum influx of members. With a General Election not expected until May 2020 and with Iain Wright at odds with the local CLP, the path was clear to insert a usurper into the local political scene ready to fill the gap left by any Wright de-selection. ‘The Plan’ was for McLaughlin to be elected as a ward councillor in Hartlepool from which position he would have three full years to establish himself as a credible Westminster candidate. The plan would depend on the cooperation of the local Labour Leadership and CLP.

The Fixed Term Parliament Act and the 2017 General

Election

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, introduced by David Cameron’s Coalition Government of 2010, received Royal Assent on 15 September 2011 and introduced fixed-term elections to the Westminster parliament for the first time. Under the provisions of the Act, parliamentary general elections must be held every five years, beginning in 2015. However, a vote of no confidence in the government or a two-thirds majority vote in the House of Commons could still trigger a general election at any time. According to the Act, the next General Election should have been held on May 7th, 2020 and this was the date that all political parties, the Press and others were working towards. It was certainly the date on which the plans for Mike McLaughlin’s political career were based giving him a full three years to get himself established in Hartlepool as a local, Labour Councillor. Those plans that would be left in tatters on 18th April, just two weeks after Mike McLaughlin had been nominated as Labour’s Headland & Harbour candidate after Prime Minister, Theresa May,  caught everyone off-guard and called a snap election. Unbeknown to the Prime Minister, by calling a snap election she had robbed McLaughlin of his chance to spend the next three years establishing himself as a credible Westminster candidate ready for a 2020 General Election. McLaughlin could hardly switch overnight from being a candidate in a local by-election to being Labour’s candidate for Westminster. A deceitful campaign based on slight of hand and innuendo might win the day in a minor by-election but would not survive the increased scrutiny that comes with a General Election. What was meant to be a cunning plan had become collateral damage of one, single move by the Prime Minister; the plan was now in chaos. Not only that, with sitting MP Iain Wright announcing that he would not be standing again, Labour found themselves in the position of having to quickly find an alternative candidate. The winner of that particular race was Mike Hill who now lives with the knowledge that he was never meant to be Hartlepool’s MP.

McLaughlin and the Future

Mike McLaughlin scraped a win in Headland & Harbour by just 23 votes over his UKIP rival Tom Cassidy. He now finds himself in a bit of a pickle as a newly elected councillor in a ward 250 miles away from his home and with his longer-term political career plans in tatters. He would have had to appear on the electoral register in order to stand as a candidate in Headland & Harbour in the first place but he is no longer listed on the register as living at Navigation Point even though the address still appears on his councillor details displayed on the HBC website. This may suggest that he has decided to save the estimated £450 per month rent and opted to stay elsewhere during his occasional visits to Hartlepool. Those councillor details provide an e-mail address and a mobile number as methods of contact but he is the only councillor not to provide a link to his register of interests or ward surgery diary. He may have arrived there accidentally but it is extremely unlikely that Mike Hill would now be willing to step aside as MP in 2022 in order to accommodate McLaughlin’s political ambitions; the same is true if the frequently predicted earlier General Election materialises. McLaughlin still works as a Doctor in the A&E Department of St Thomas’ Hospital in London and he remains a London based Labour activist. If appearances are to be maintained, he must continue to face a 500 mile round trip on the Grand Central train whenever he is due to attend a council meeting in Hartlepool but the effort involved is already having effect. His attendance record at meetings of the full council is already down to 50% and for the Adult Services Committee, on which he foolishly accepted a seat, it is even worse. This is not a sustainable position and he must now be wondering just how long he can maintain this farce. McLaughlin probably plans to slowly fade away eventually announcing that he will not be standing for re-election in 2019. Given that we must assume that his personal political ambition remains intact, he may even resign his ward seat if a new parliamentary constituency can be found for him. The more interesting question is what voters in the Headland & Harbour ward will think as they discover that they have been used as mere pawns in a failed plan to further the political career of a favoured but London based Corbyn activist.
Mike Hill Was Never Meant to be Hartlepool’s New MP
Sadiq Khan welcomes Earlsfield doctor Dr Mike McLaughlin, the founder of Earlsfield Food bank, Rev Colin Roberts, the former Tooting Town Centre Manager Audrey Helps and other local heroes to Parliament, to celebrate all of the hard work they do in the community, with Ed Milliband. Hartlepool’s now former MP Iain Wright 18th April 2017 May Calls General Election 4th April 2017 Closing Date for  By-Election Nominations 28th March2017 Sylvia Tempest Resigns 8th June General Election  4th May 2017 Headland & Harbour By-Election  Time-line 19th April 2017 Iain Wright Steps  Down as MP 17th May 2016 Rosena Allin-Khan Selected as Labour  Candidate in Tooting Prime Minister Theresa May Inadvertently Scuppered McLaughlin’s Preparation Plans

Is There a Doctor In

the Ward?

The election material made it clear enough, ‘Put Your Trust in a Real Doctor NOT a UKIP Spin Doctor - Vote for Local  Resident Dr Mike McLaughlin Your local  Labour Candidate for Headland & Harbour Ward. ‘Trust’ and ‘Local’ would seem to be the salient words here. So how much of either should we place in the recently elected Headland & Harbour Councillor or, for that matter, the Labour Party that supported him? Mike McLaughlin’s election campaign made much use of his A&E doctor credentials even featuring a picture of him in his doctor’s attire complete with stethoscope. There was also an implied linkage to the local North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Trust, since confirmed by way of his Register of Interests lodged after his election with HBC’s Chief Solicitor. Add to this an address at Navigation Point, within the Headland and Harbour ward boundary and all of the boxes had been ticked for a successful campaign. His election pitch which appeared in the Hartlepool Mail emphasised his community credentials, “I’m standing to the be the councillor for the ward because I believe our community deserves better. Living in the community I see UKIP’s neglect on the Headland, the Central estate and the Burbank daily. In reality, McLaughlin’s own community was in Tooting, Central London. His campaign was a cynical one based on subtle suggestion and slight of hand with the duplicitous goal of convincing Headland & Harbour voters that McLaughlin was a local lad working as an A&E Doctor at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Trust - and many of them fell for it. We can at least confirm that Mike McLaughlin is the councillor’s real name and that he is an A&E doctor but unfortunately, that’s about as far as we can go.  GMC Credentials The true story of Mike McLaughlin’s  election as a Hartlepool councillor is one of manipulation by what is today, a very London-centric Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. A party that appears to have no problem using voters in its its traditional heartland in the north as mere stepping stones to further the political career of one of their chosen people. It’s a story that also involves some surprising characters from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to Prime Minister Theresa May and one that demonstrates just how little respect Labour now has for the electorate.

Dr Who and The

Unexpected Journey

Mike McLaughlin lives, not at Navigation Point, but in the Borough of Tooting in London just as he did during his election campaign and for several years before that. He is a Junior doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital, on the other side of the river Thames to the Houses of Parliament, with aspirations to become a consultant. He has no connection to Hartlepool and, prior to May 2017, would probably have needed a map even to locate it. He is a well-known activist within the London Labour set best known for his campaigning for junior doctor’s and the LGBT community. Originally from Northern Ireland, he has lived in Tooting for six years, where he has also been a ward organiser for Labour. His London credentials were strong enough for him to be short-listed by Labour in the competition to become their candidate for the Tooting by-election which followed the election of Sadiq Khan  as London Mayor in May 2016. He was one of two doctors short-listed with the other being Rosena Allin-Khan  who was born and raised in Tooting where she was also a councillor, once serving as deputy leader of the Labour group on Wandsworth Council. She also worked as an A&E specialist doctor in the local St. George’s Hospital. The two doctors were the clear favourites for selection largely because Tooting had been experiencing an influx of professional, middle-class people. This gentrification’, as Labour dubbed it, had led to an increasing Tory vote in the constituency at the expense of Labour. It was thought that having a doctor as their candidate would help stop the rot. In the end, the local CLP opted for Rosena Allin-Khan over Mike McLaughlin with the runner-up told that he would be found a safe Labour seat ‘up north’ as a consolation prize. That safe Labour seat was Hartlepool and it was then occupied by Ian Wright.

Iain Wright

There had been rumours for sometime that Hartlepool’s sitting MP, Iain Wright, was facing de-selection. After Labour’s 2015 defeat in the General Election and Ed Milliband’s subsequent resignation as Labour Leader, the party descended into almost two years of navel gazing and in-fighting. Wright, like many others, had initially dismissed any possibility that Jeremy Corbyn could become Leader of the Labour Party and when Corbyn was elected Wright became one of several prominent critics within the Westminster bubble - though typically of Wright, not publicly. Only after Corbyn  won a second Leadership contest did Wright tone down his criticism calling instead for unity within the party. At home, Wright’s relationship with the Hartlepool CLP had been slowly disintegrating for some time. There had been several reasons for this. Wright had been facing a strong challenge from UKIP which had made Hartlepool one of UKIP’s top 10 target seats and the main target in North East England. In addition, the antics of members of the local Labour group under the leadership of Christopher Akers- Belcher had put further pressure on the Labour vote. Weeks before the 2015 election, Wright had been forced to call for an investigation into the behaviour of Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher  after he had been caught propagating a serious of lies over the circumstances surrounding his sacking from Newcastle City Council. Even so, Wright went on to see his majority in the 2015 General Election cut to just 3,024 turning Hartlepool into the 35th most vulnerable labour seat in the country. The 69.5% ‘leave’ vote in the 2016 referendum only underlined the threat from UKIP that Wright faced and his relationship with the local CLP deteriorated further when then CLP refused to fund recommended security improvements to its South terrace HQ in the wake of the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox in 2016. This refusal had forced Wright to relocate his own office into Hartlepool Civic Centre in order to guarantee the safety of his own staff. There’s no way of knowing if Wright had already decided to call it a day but by the beginning of 2017 he found himself working under a leader in whom he had no faith and facing the real threat of losing his own seat. His relationship with the local CLP had broken down and at a time when all of the opinion polls suggested that he would be facing another 5 years in opposition even if he did manage to hang on to his seat.

The Fixed Term

Parliament Act and the

2017 General Election

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, introduced by David Cameron’s Coalition Government of 2010, received Royal Assent on 15 September 2011 and introduced fixed-term elections to the Westminster parliament for the first time. Under the provisions of the Act, parliamentary general elections must be held every five years, beginning in 2015. However, a vote of no confidence in the government or a two-thirds majority vote in the House of Commons could still trigger a general election at any time. According to the Act, the next General Election should have been held on May 7th, 2020 and this was the date that all political parties, the Press and others were working towards. It was certainly the date on which the plans for Mike McLaughlin’s political career were based giving him a full three years to get himself established in Hartlepool as a local, Labour Councillor. Those plans that would be left in tatters on 18th April, just two weeks after Mike McLaughlin had been nominated as Labour’s Headland & Harbour candidate after Prime Minister, Theresa May,  caught everyone off-guard and called a snap election. Unbeknown to the Prime Minister, by calling a snap election she had robbed McLaughlin of his chance to spend the next three years establishing himself as a credible Westminster  candidate ready for a 2020 General Election. McLaughlin could hardly switch overnight from being a candidate in a local by- election to being Labour’s candidate for Westminster. A deceitful campaign based on slight of hand and innuendo might win the day in a minor by-election but would not survive the increased scrutiny that comes with a General Election. What was meant to be a cunning plan had become collateral damage of one, single move by the Prime Minister; the plan was now in chaos. Not only that, with sitting MP Iain Wright announcing that he would not be standing again, Labour found themselves in the position of having to quickly find an alternative candidate. The winner of that particular race was Mike Hill who now lives with the knowledge that he was never meant to be Hartlepool’s MP.

McLaughlin and the

Future

Mike McLaughlin scraped a win in Headland & Harbour by just 23 votes over his UKIP rival Tom Cassidy. He now finds himself in a bit of a pickle as a newly elected councillor but with his longer-term political career plans in tatters. Although he would have had to appear on the electoral register in order to stand as a candidate in Headland & Harbour he is no longer listed at Navigation Point. The address still appears on his councillor details on the HARTLEPOOL BOROUGH COUNCIL website. This may suggest that he has decided to save the estimated £450 per month rent opting to stay elsewhere during his occasional visits to Hartlepool. It must be extremely unlikely that Mike Hill would be willing to step aside as MP in 2022 in order to accommodate McLaughlin’s ambitions and the same would be true if the frequently predicted earlier General Election materialises. McLaughlin still works as a Doctor in the A&E Department of St Thomas’ Hospital in London and remains a London based Labour activist but now one with a council seat some 250 miles away. If appearances are to be maintained, he must continue to face a 500 mile round trip on the Grand Central train whenever he is due to attend a council meeting in Hartlepool. This is not a sustainable position. McLaughlin will probably now slowly fade away only to eventually announce that he will not be standing for re-election in 2019. The more interesting question is what voters in the Headland & Harbour ward will think as they discover that they have been used as mere pawns in a failed plan to further the political career of a London based Corbyn activist.

Is There a

Doctor In

the Ward?

The election material made it clear enough, ‘Put Your Trust in a Real Doctor NOT a UKIP Spin Doctor - Vote for Local Resident Dr Mike McLaughlin Your local Labour Candidate for Headland & Harbour Ward. Both ‘Trust’ and ‘Local’ would seem to be the salient words here. So how much of either should we place in the recently elected Headland & Harbour  Councillor or, for that matter, the Labour Party that supported him? Mike McLaughlin’s election campaign made much use of his A&E doctor credentials even featuring a picture of him in his doctor’s attire complete with stethoscope. There was also an implied linkage to the local North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Trust, since confirmed by way of his Register of Interests lodged after his election with HBC’s Chief Solicitor. Add to this an address at Navigation Point, within the Headland and Harbour ward boundary and all of the boxes would seem to have been ticked for a successful campaign. But there was something troubling about Mike McLaughlin. When the Headland & Harbour by-election arose, the name McLaughlin was not one that we had previously come across and no one seemed able to tell us much about him. In addition, for all of his implied claims of a connection with the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Trust, we couldn’t find anyone at the Trust who had even heard of him. His election pitch which appeared in the Hartlepool Mail emphasised his community commitment, “I’m standing to be the councillor for the ward because I believe our community deserves better. Living in the community I see UKIP’s neglect on the Headland, the Central estate and the Burbank daily. In reality, McLaughlin’s own community was (and still is) in Tooting, Central London and his local knowledge of Hartlepool was still at the elementary stage. His campaign was a cynical one based on subtle suggestion and slight of hand with the duplicitous goal of convincing Headland & Harbour voters that McLaughlin was a local lad working as an A&E Doctor at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Trust - and many of them fell for it. We can at least confirm that Mike McLaughlin is the councillor’s real name and that he is an A&E doctor but unfortunately, that’s about as far as we can go.  GMC Credentials The true story of Mike McLaughlin’s election as a Hartlepool councillor is one of manipulation by what is today, a very London-centric Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. A party that appears to have no problem using voters in its its traditional heartland in the north as mere cannon fodder to further the political career of one of their chosen people. It’s also a story that involves some surprising characters from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and even to Prime Minister Theresa May and one that demonstrates just how little respect Labour now has for the electorate.

Dr Who and The Unexpected Journey

Mike McLaughlin lives, not at Navigation Point, but in the Borough of Tooting in London just as he did during his election campaign and for several years before that. He is a Junior doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital, on the other side of the river Thames to the Houses of Parliament, with aspirations to become a consultant. He has no connection to Hartlepool and, prior to May 2017, would probably have needed a map even to locate it. He is a well-known activist within the London Labour set best known for his campaigning for junior doctor’s and the LGBT community. Originally from Northern Ireland, he has lived in Tooting for six years, where he has also been a ward organiser for Labour. His London credentials were strong enough for him to be short-listed by Labour in the competition to become their candidate for the Tooting by- election which followed the election of Sadiq Khan as London Mayor in May 2016. He was one of two doctors short-listed with the other being Rosena Allin- Khan who was born and raised in Tooting where she was also a councillor, once serving as deputy leader of the Labour group on Wandsworth Council. She also worked as an A&E specialist doctor in the local St. George’s Hospital. The two doctors were the clear favourites for selection largely because Tooting had been experiencing an influx of professional, middle-class people. This ‘gentrification’, as Labour dubbed it, had led to an increasing Tory vote in the constituency at the expense of Labour. It was thought that having a doctor as their candidate would help stop the rot. In the end, the local CLP opted for Rosena Allin-Khan over Mike McLaughlin with the runner-up told that he would be found a safe Labour seat ‘up north’ as a consolation prize. Eventually it was decided that safe Labour seat would be Hartlepool, then occupied by Ian Wright.

Iain Wright

There had been rumours for sometime that Hartlepool’s sitting MP, Iain Wright, was facing de-selection. After Labour’s 2015 defeat in the General Election and Ed Milliband’s subsequent resignation as Labour Leader, the party descended into almost two years of navel gazing and in-fighting. Wright, like many others, had initially dismissed any possibility that Jeremy Corbyn could become Leader of the Labour Party and when Corbyn was elected Wright  became one of several prominent critics within the Westminster bubble - though typically of Wright, not publicly. Only after Corbyn won a second Leadership contest did Wright tone down his criticism calling instead for unity within the party. At home, Wright’s relationship with the Hartlepool CLP had been slowly disintegrating for some time. There had been several reasons for this. Wright had been facing a strong challenge from UKIP which had made Hartlepool one of UKIP’s top 10 target seats and the main target in North East England. In addition, the antics of members of the local Labour group under the leadership of Christopher Akers-Belcher had put further pressure on the Labour vote. Weeks before the 2015 election, Wright had been forced to call for an investigation into the behaviour of Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher after he had been caught propagating a serious of lies over the circumstances surrounding his sacking from Newcastle City Council. Even so, Wright went on to see his majority in the 2015 General Election cut to just 3,024 turning Hartlepool into the 35th most vulnerable labour seat in the country. The 69.5% ‘leave’ vote in the 2016 referendum only underlined the threat from UKIP that Wright faced and his relationship with the local CLP deteriorated further when then CLP refused to fund recommended security improvements to its South terrace HQ in the wake of the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox in 2016. This refusal had forced Wright to relocate his own office into Hartlepool Civic Centre in order to guarantee the safety of his own staff. There’s no way of knowing if Wright had already decided to call it a day but by the beginning of 2017 he found himself working under a leader in whom he had no faith and facing the real threat of losing his own seat. His relationship with the local CLP had broken down and at a time when all of the opinion polls suggested that he would be facing another 5 years in opposition even if he did manage to hang on to his seat.

The Plan

After the second Labour leadership contest which had confirmed, if not reinforced, Jeremy Corbyn’s position as Leader there had been much talk of a wave of de-selections, particularly within the Momentum influx of members. With a General Election not expected until May 2020 and with Iain Wright at odds with the local CLP, the path was clear to insert a usurper into the local political scene ready to fill the gap left by any Wright de- selection. ‘The Plan’ was for McLaughlin to be elected as a ward councillor in Hartlepool from which position he would have three full years to establish himself as a credible Westminster candidate. The plan would depend on the cooperation of the local Labour Leadership and CLP.

The Fixed Term Parliament Act and the 2017

General Election

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, introduced by David Cameron’s Coalition Government of 2010, received Royal Assent on 15 September 2011 and introduced fixed-term elections to the Westminster parliament for the first time. Under the provisions of the Act, parliamentary general elections must be held every five years, beginning in 2015. However, a vote of no confidence in the government or a two-thirds majority vote in the House of Commons could still trigger a general election at any time. According to the Act, the next General Election should have been held on May 7th, 2020 and this was the date that all political parties, the Press and others were working towards. It was certainly the date on which the plans for Mike McLaughlin’s political career were based giving him a full three years to get himself established in Hartlepool as a local, Labour Councillor. Those plans that would be left in tatters on 18th April, just two weeks after Mike McLaughlin had been nominated as Labour’s Headland & Harbour candidate after Prime Minister, Theresa May, caught everyone off- guard and called a snap election. Unbeknown to the Prime Minister, by calling a snap election she had robbed McLaughlin of his chance to spend the next three years establishing himself as a credible Westminster candidate ready for a 2020 General Election. McLaughlin could hardly switch overnight from being a candidate in a local by-election to being Labour’s candidate for Westminster. A deceitful campaign based on slight of hand and innuendo might win the day in a minor by-election but would not survive the increased scrutiny that comes with a General Election. What was meant to be a cunning plan had become collateral damage of one, single move by the Prime Minister; the plan was now in chaos. Not only that, with sitting MP Iain Wright announcing that he would not be standing again, Labour found themselves in the position of having to quickly find an alternative candidate. The winner of that particular race was Mike Hill who now lives with the knowledge that he was never meant to be Hartlepool’s MP.

McLaughlin and the Future

Mike McLaughlin scraped a win in Headland & Harbour by just 23 votes over his UKIP rival Tom Cassidy. He now finds himself in a bit of a pickle as a newly elected councillor in a ward 250 miles away from his home and with his longer-term political career plans in tatters. He would have had to appear on the electoral register in order to stand as a candidate in Headland & Harbour in the first place but he is no longer listed on the register as living at Navigation Point even though the address still appears on his councillor details displayed on the HBC website. This may suggest that he has decided to save the estimated £450 per month rent and opted to stay elsewhere during his occasional visits to Hartlepool.
Sadiq Khan welcomes Earlsfield doctor Dr Mike McLaughlin, the founder of Earlsfield Food bank, Rev Colin Roberts, the former Tooting Town Centre Manager Audrey Helps and other local heroes to Parliament, to celebrate all of the hard work they do in the community, with Ed Milliband.
Hartlepool’s now former MP Iain Wright
Prime Minister Theresa May Inadvertently Scuppered McLaughlin’s Preparation Plans 
Mike Hill Was Never Meant to be Hartlepool’s New MP 18th April 2017 May Calls General Election 4th April 2017 Closing Date for  By-Election Nominations 28th March2017 Sylvia Tempest Resigns 8th June General Election  4th May 2017 Headland & Harbour By-Election  Time-line 19th April 2017 Iain Wright Steps  Down as MP 17th May 2016 Rosena Allin-Khan Selected as Labour  Candidate in Tooting
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