THE Conservative Party has selected a born-and-bred Hartlepudlian to contest next year's General Election – which will leave voters seeing double when they go to the polls next year.
Veteran media stalwart Alan Wright will challenge namesake Iain Wright, the town's sitting Labour MP, at the 2010 parliamentary elections.
The 62-year-old has warned that Hartlepool has a bigger Conservative history than many people think. He firmly believes there will be a Tory government next year and wants his home town to benefit.
Alan's nomination has been backed by former Tory party leader William Hague and Conservative Peer Lord Bates.
After being approached to stand, national party bigwigs offered him the chance to stand as a candidate in a safe seat in the South but he shunned the offer to fight on a local front.
The father of two, of Park Road, was selected last night at a meeting of the Hartlepool Conservative Association. He was unanimously selected after beating numerous candidates from across the country at a meeting at Hartlepool Cricket Club.
Chris McKenna, executive member of the association, told the Mail: "We are delighted to have Alan on board and we are sure he will make a superb candidate."
The official Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate will take on the man who was born on the same day as his 37-year-old son Chris, and who he has known all his life.
Alan, who was born on the Headland and brought up in West View and Hart Station, and attended Henry Smith Grammar School, told the Mail: "It is an honour and a privilege to be selected to seek the position of MP in my home town.
"I have thought long and hard about this since I was first approached many months ago. The easier option would have been to decline but I fervently believe that Hartlepool needs a change to give all of its people the best chances in life."
Alan, married to wife Joan for 43 years, believes a change of political direction is firmly on the cards for the town.
He added: "There is a bigger Conservative tradition in Hartlepool than many people realise. Our very first MP, Ralph Ward Jackson, was a Conservative and I remember growing up when Commander John Kerans filled the post from 1959 to 1964.
"This will be the first time I have ever stood for political office, though my long years in the media and on public bodies have given me a sharp understanding of what works and what doesn't. I know Hartlepool very well and I'm proud to say that Hartlepool knows me.
"The General Election gives the town a real choice between stagnation and a new start with a Conservative government and a Conservative MP who can make a big difference."
Alan Wright has had a successful broadcasting career between 1975 and 2002, primarily as a BBC current affairs presenter and producer. As a professional speaker and conference host for the past 30 years, he has spoken throughout the UK, USA and the Middle East.
Alan is chairman of Soundswright Ltd, a company specialising in media training and strategy which he runs with business partner and TV presenter Wendy Gibson.
The grandfather of two, a long-standing Mail columnist, has been involved in numerous community ventures and was previously a non-executive director and vice-chairman of Hartlepool Primary Care Trust.
He also sat on the board of the Hartlepool Local Strategic Partnership.
Other prospective candidates have yet to be announced.