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So who are you again? Boris Johnson meets the new MP for Hartlepool

PM tried not to gloat at Jill Mortimer’s win, claiming no knowledge of Brexit party demise, vaccine bounce … and even his new MP

The real surprise was that anyone was surprised. Over the last few days the polls had looked desperate for Labour and it would have been astonishing if the Conservatives hadn’t easily won the Hartlepool byelection.

And sure enough those who had voted for the Brexit party in the 2019 general election moved en masse to the Tories and Hartlepool went blue for the first time since the constituency had been created back in the mid 1970s. So what with the end of the Brexit party and the vaccine bounce, the byelection had been an accident waiting to happen for Labour.

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