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07th May 2021

Hartlepool by-election: Northern Independence Party flops scoring just two more votes than convicted sex offender

Former Labour MP, Thelma Walker, said this was "just the start" for the Northern Independence Party

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt

Thelma Walker Northern Independence Party

Former Labour MP, Thelma Walker, said this was “just the start” for the Northern Independence Party

Independent candidate, and convicted sex offender, Christopher Killick won 248 votes at the Hartlepool by-election yesterday, just two fewer than the Northern Independence Party (NIP) candidate and former Labour MP Thelma Walker.

Killick, who came ninth out of 16 candidates, was convicted of voyeurism last year after filming a naked woman in a hotel room while she was unconscious, following the woman’s five-year campaign for justice.

Walker, who brought home 250 votes, took to Twitter to lament her low result but said “this is just the start.”

“I would have liked more votes but we now have a New Democratic socialist party and people are discussing the North /South divide,” she said.

“This is just the start for NIP Thanks to everyone in the @FreeNorthNow team. Now some sleep!”

NIP garnered attention on social media over recent weeks for their outspoken and satirical campaigning, telling JOE last month they were aiming to take all of Labour’s seats in the North.

Most of NIP’s voter base compromise of disillusioned left-leaning Labour voters and former Jeremy Corybn supporters dissatisfied with Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership of the Labour party.

Killick’s candidacy sparked outrage, with local campaigners launching a petition to prohibit sex offenders being able to run for public office in future.

The petition has so far attracted almost 6,000 signatures.

Sarah Gate, the person behind it, told Teeside Live that people in her hometown were “appalled” that Killick was allowed on the ballot.

“A lot of people didn’t even realise that those on the register can become MP or run for local councillor” said the 33-year-old digital marketing strategist and feminist blogger.

As it currently stands, the law prevents certain groups – including civil servants, police officers and members of the armed forces – from standing to be an MP. People who are subject to bankruptcy restrictions in England and Wales are also banned.

“The system cares more about how you’ve treated money in the past than people” said Sarah.

Read more here.