Nine Hartlepool councillors have today (September 12) defected to The Brexit Party and agreed to form a pro-Brexit coalition with three local Tories.

They plan to take control of the council from Labour and will sit for the first time as Brexit Party councillors at the town-wide council meeting last night at 7.00pm.

The defectors attended The Brexit Party’s conference rally in Sedgefield where they met Chairman Richard Tice, and agreed to put country before party.

The alliance is a blow to the Labour party, now actively backing a second referendum, and who lost control of all five Tees Valley councils and dozens of seats last May.

A strong 69.6% of Hartlepool voted for Brexit in 2016 and 38.7% of people in the region back The Brexit Party in the recent European Elections.

Meanwhile the town’s Labour MP Mike Hill has voted for deeper EU integration and is currently pushing to block a clean-break Brexit.  

The Brexit Party Chairman Richard Tice said: “It was a pleasure to meet the councillors from Hartlepool, who are doing something truly admirable.

“These hardworking men and women have organised and put country before party so they can defend democracy from Corbyn’s Labour.

“I can reveal  that nine councillors from different parties have joined The Brexit Party and agreed to work with three Tories to secure a pro-Brexit majority for the town.

“Regardless of the shenanigans in Westminster, Brexiteers in the North East are pushing to take back control so they can respect the Brexit vote in their region.

“It is shocking that Hartlepool’s sitting Labour MP is defying local wishes and fighting to block Brexit – just as parliament is collectively battling to defy the people in Westminster.

“The British people are tired of their games. It’s time to unite and deliver what they voted for more than three years ago.

“The Brexit Party is reaching out in traditional Labour heartlands, offering a democratic alternative, and we are also ready to stand against those Tories who are aiding Corbyn’s anti-democratic alliance.”

Councillor Tom Cassidy, who has joined The Brexit Party, said: “I could no longer sit back and witness the 70% of people who voted here in 2016 being ignored by MPs in Westminster.

“Joining The Brexit Party as one united team is the only way we can stand up to the establishment and Labour Party who now back Remain.

“Local Labour MP Mike Hill no longer represents the people of Hartlepool. With The Brexit Party now in full swing, he and his Labour colleague’s days are now numbered.

“The Brexit Party is here to stay and I would urge any Councillor out there that wants to fight for democracy and fight for Brexit to step up and join the Brexit Party.”

Conservative Councillor Mike Young, the deputy leader of Hartlepool Borough, said: “I am incredibly disappointed that we still appear to have no way forward for a Brexit, deal or no-deal.

“Those local coalition councillors who have chosen to become members of The Brexit Party are, in my own view, seeking to ensure that we leave the EU in accordance with the 2016 referendum result.

“This follows their success in having a Brexit Party MEP elected in Hartlepool. We see real and positive support growing for this cause.

“As a coalition, we want to stand by the people of the town, who voted by almost 70% to leave the EU, and we will be standing firm and sending a message to parliament and the EU.”

North East MEP John Tennant, who is also a councillor on Hartlepool Borough Council, added: “It is important that Brexiteers get together in the face of a clear Remain alliance.

“Now is the time, in light of the recent developments in Westminster, that we have a united effort to fight for a clean-break Brexit”.