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Saturday, 27 January, 2001, 00:18 GMT
Hartlepool backs Mandelson
Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson resigned on Wednesday
Peter Mandelson's Hartlepool constituency has confirmed that he will stand as its candidate in the forthcoming general election - expected to be held in May.

The announcement was made by the chairman of the constituency Labour Party, Ray Waller, following a 90-minute meeting with Mr Mandelson at his house in Hartlepool.

He said: "The party is solidly behind Peter and will be going out in the next few weeks working for him to be re-elected in Hartlepool."


He will always be a high profile personality and can now be high profile for Hartlepool

Ray Waller, chairman of the Hartlepool constituency Labour Party
The former Northern Ireland secretary resigned from the cabinet earlier in the week over his role in a passport application for one of the Hinduja brothers.

Mr Waller said he hoped Mr Mandelson would now have time to be the "people's champion" in Hartlepool.

"We are all working on the assumption Peter will be re-elected and serve as our MP for the next five years," he said.

"He will always be a high profile personality and can now be high profile for Hartlepool."

No apology

The president of the constituency Labour Party, Keith Fisher, said he was glad Hartlepool would now see more of Mr Mandelson.

"You can call it being greedy but I'm very happy about this and it will work very, very well," he said.

"He is staying as our candidate and I am very pleased about that.

"I'm confident that when the people of Hartlepool have time to sit back and think about all of what's happened they will still support him at the ballot box."

Europe Minister Keith Vaz
Keith Vaz has defended his support of the passport application
The leader of the Labour group on Hartlepool Borough Council, Russell Hart, said Mr Mandelson had not apologised to the party.

"We never asked for an apology and he does not need to give us one," he said.

"There was an extremely positive tone to the meeting, very straightforward and we are planning for the election and making sure that we will win."

The Europe Minister, Keith Vaz, has also been embroiled in the passport application affair.

He allegedly wrote to both Tony Blair and Mr Mandelson about the controversial Indian billionaire Hinduja brothers in 1997.

He spent Friday defending his support of the application.

Mr Vaz said he was "very happy" to have his correspondence published and said the inquiry into the saga, ordered by the prime minister, will prove he had done nothing wrong.


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26 Jan 01 | UK Politics
26 Jan 01 | UK Politics
24 Jan 01 | N Ireland
24 Jan 01 | N Ireland
22 Jan 01 | South Asia
24 Jan 01 | UK Politics
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