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GP Labour candidate ‘endorsed’ by Lib Dem opponent

A GP standing as the Labour candidate for Stockton South appears to have been endorsed by his Liberal Democrat opponent as voters go to the polls today.

Liberal Democrat Brendan Devlin has urged Teesiders to ‘vote tactically for someone who cares about the NHS and social care’ after stating the marginal seat would be a battleground for Labour and the Conservatives.

He went on to say while he does not endorse ‘either party or their leadership’ he had met Dr Paul Williams, representing Labour, and that he is an ‘honest, sincere man…reliable and committed to social justice’.

Dr Williams said on Twitter: ‘My Liberal Democrat opponent has been even more explicit in endorsing me in the Tory/Labour marginal in Stockton South.’

He retweeted a series of posts from Mr Devlin that called on voters to prevent the Conservative candidate Matt Vickers from taking the seat held by Dr Williams since 2017.

Mr Devlin said in series of messages on Twitter yesterday: ‘Liberal Democrats are a party of reason motivated by human dignity and concern for our country; in these final moments of this election, I urge all voters to choose wisely with those thoughts in their minds.

‘Polling shows that Stockton South is a Lab/Cons battle. I cannot and do not endorse either party or their leadership. But I have met Paul; he’s an honest, sincere man, and if I needed help, I know he’s reliable and committed to social justice. And he turns up to hustings.’

The Stockton South seat was lost by the Conservatives in 2017 – with Dr Williams winning by 888 votes against James Wharton.

Dr Williams previously worked as a GP in a practice in Stockton-on-Tees and sat as the chief executive of GP federation Hartlepool and Stockton Heath.

After winning his seat in the last election he was selected to sit on the House of Commons’ health select committee.

His election campaign has focused on healthcare and education.

He said: ‘I came into politics because I saw first-hand the damage that this government has done to our NHS. I know the pressure that doctors, nurses and clinicians are facing. And I know just how hard it is to get a GP appointment when you need one or to be seen in hospital.’

Brexit Party candidate John Prescott is also standing for Stockton South.