The Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election: day by day

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Stoke-on-Trent has been under the political microscope in recent months following the resignation of Tristram Hunt in January.

Many events have shaped the outcome of the by-election, leading to Gareth Snell being elected for Stoke-on-Trent Central on February 23.

Here is the journey from the the resignation of one MP to the election of another.

January 13

Shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt, resigned as Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent due to his new position as Director at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

In a letter written to members of the constituency, he explained: “It has been a profound privilege to represent the Potteries in Parliament over the last six and a half years.”

Hunt’s resignation forced a by-election.

January 21

Paul Nuttall, leader of UKIP, confirmed his running for candidacy of Stoke-on-Trent.

February 1

It was reported in national press that Nuttall declared he was living in a house in Stoke that he has not moved into at the time. This is considered to be an offence under the Representation of the People Act 1983.

February 3

Former UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, joined Paul Nuttall on the Stoke-on-Trent campaign trail. They visited local cafe Harley’s bar before greeting the public at UKIP’s headquarters in Hanley.

Paul Nuttall and Nigel Farage in Hanley

February 7

Paul Nuttall and Nigel Farage were pelted by eggs at they continued their campaign.

A by-election rally held in the evening at Victoria Hall saw more than 40 people gather outside protesting.

The protesters were holding up banners saying “No to UKIP racism” and “Unity in Stoke”. They were refused entry to the rally.

Lisa Duffy, a UKIP spokesperson, said: “We had a security team that used intelligence, they had full digression on who entered the building.”

February 10

Christian People’s Alliance candidate, Godfrey Davies, admitted he had “no chance of winning.”

GodfreyDavies, by-election

Godfrey Davies (Left), Sidney Cordle (Right) who is the Christian Peoples Alliance leader

February 11

Paul Nuttall was accused of lying about his claims to have been present at the Hillsborough disaster when he was a child. He was later challenged on a radio show about past UKIP press releases where he explained he had lost ‘close personal friends’ in the disaster. He admitted this was not true, saying someone he knew had died, and said that the press releases had not “come from him.” His press officer resigned.

February 12

Labour candidate Gareth Snell pledged to protect jobs in the Potteries if he is elected. He said: “Stoke-on-Trent is a fantastic city with so much to offer and people want and MP who is local and proud of our city.”

Snell was forced to apologise following the controversy of his anti-Brexit tweet on the Sunday Politics show.

 

Snell's anti-Brexit tweet

Snell’s anti-Brexit tweet

He said: “It was my way of showing my frustration, she (Prime Minister Theresa May) failed to produce any plan. I never meant to insult anybody. I respect the wishes of the people of Stoke-on-Trent.”

February 14

Candidates for the by-election faced tough questions at the Stoke-on-Trent by-election hustings. Each candidate was given 60 seconds to explain why the people of Stoke-on-Trent Central should vote for them. Many of the questions were based on the NHS and immigration.

February 16

It was revealed that Muslim residents received text messages urging them to vote tactically and suggested they will have to “answer for this in the Grave and on the Final Day” for voting for a party other than Labour.

The Liberal Democrat candidate Dr Zulfiqar Ali, who is Muslim, condemned the move and called on Labour to apologise.

February 18

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader visited the Potteries to back Gareth Snell.

He addressed 150 supporters in Hanley and went knocking on doors around Bentilee and elsewhere in the constituency.

Corbyn said: “I feel the campaign is going well. This is the third time that I’ve been here and I was speaking to members and supporters this morning who are heading off with voter sheets and leaflets to ensure we reach every single voter in Stoke-on-Trent Central so that they know what Gareth is offering.”

February 20

Prime Minister Theresa May visited Stoke-on-Trent ahead of the by-election. She joined candidate Jack Brerrton on a visit to Emma Bridgewater factory in Hanley.

May said: “It’s important for the people of Stoke-on-Trent, but it’s important for the country more widely too because I want to deliver on Brexit. That’s what the people here in Stoke voted for. I want to make a success of it.”

February 23

POLLING DAY

The constituency was struck by the Storm Doris ‘weather bomb’ on polling day causing travel disruption, fallen trees and injured a woman.

Polling stations closed at 10pm.

BBC Question Time was filmed at Staffordshire University’s Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre where Conservative MP Justine Greening, Labour MP Angela Rayner, Douglas Carswell from UKIP, Peter Coates chairman of Stoke City FC and journalist Isabel Oakeshott discussed the by-election and future of Stoke-on-Trent.

Results came in at 2.15am

Labour – 7,853 votes -37.1%
UKIP – 5,233 votes – 24.7%
Conservatives – 5,154 votes – 24.3%
Liberal Democrats – 2,083 votes – 24.3%

Gareth Snell is officially elected as MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central.

Paul Nuttall thanks the public for their support throughout the campaign

Paul Nuttall thanks the public for their support throughout the campaign

Gareth Snell MP for Stoke celebrates his win

Gareth Snell MP for Stoke celebrates his win

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