A WAR of words has broken out between the Labour and Liberal Democrat campaign teams ahead of a parliamentary by-election on Thursday.

The by-election will be held in Middlesbrough following the death of veteran Labour MP Sir Stuart Bell.

In a tweet, Labour MP for Sedgefield Phil Wilson criticised the Liberal Democrats for campaigning in the wrong area, outside the constituency, in the Marton area of the conurbation yesterday.

And a Labour Party spokesman pointed to a Liberal Democrat campaign leaflet which said: “Things seem to be getting worse, not better.”

The Labour spokesman said: “It seems reality has started to hit home to the Lib Dem candidate. Things are getting worse not better thanks to his government and their devastating cuts to local services.

"It's no good blaming the local council, the government is taking £50m out of this town, so it’s no wonder local people are feeling angry and that life is getting harder."

However a Liberal Democrat spokesman said things in Middlesbrough are worse because of the Labour council and MP, not the Government.

He said: “This is a classic Labour tactic of trying to distract from the real issues in the run up to polling day.

"They have clearly been rattled by a positive Lib Dem campaign focused on bringing more jobs and investment to the town."

The Labour candidate is Andy McDonald and the Liberal Democrat is George Selmer. Other candidates are: Ben Houchen, for the Conservatives, Imdad Hussain, for the Peace Party, John Malcolm, for the Trade Unionist and Socialists, Peter Foreman for the British National Party, Richard Elvin for UKIP and and Mark Heslehurst, who will contest the seat as an independent.