A Labour politician has insisted he does not support holding a second referendum on the EU - despite standing on his party’s platform which backs another vote.
In a confusing interview with ITV News Tyne Tees, Mike Hill - who was elected to the seat in 2017 - reiterated Labour’s position is to renegotiate a new Brexit deal within six months.
But when pushed on the fact that would then be put to a public vote, Mr Hill insisted that vote would not be a second referendum.
“It’s a choice on Labour’s deal, leave or whatever other options are put on the table, but I’m against a second referendum, everybody knows that,” he said.
When pressed again, he insisted both he and his party were not advocating a referendum.
The Labour Party has used the phrase “public vote” to describe its plans to put its planned renegotiated Brexit deal to the people.
Hartlepool voted 70% to leave in the EU referendum in 2016, and Mr Hill voted for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal to move on to its next stage in the House of Commons in October.
In a column for the Hartlepool Mail, he said that no Labour MP likes to vote with the Tories but Labour’s 2017 manifesto pledge to deliver Brexit was the main factor in his decision to vote the deal through.
The constituency is one of the key targets for the Brexit Party, with one of its founders, Richard Tice, contesting the seat.
Mr Tice tweeted the interview was “extraordinary”.
His party is the largest component of the biggest political grouping in Hartlepool Borough Council.
Ten independent councillors joined the Brexit Party earlier this year, including council leader Shane Moore, and formed a pact with three Tories.
“Local Labour MP Mike Hill no longer represents the people of Hartlepool,” the party said at the time.
“With The Brexit Party now in full swing, he and his Labour colleagues’ days are now numbered.”