Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage backs Hartlepool candidate Richard Tice to boost investment for town
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage backed the party’s candidate for Hartlepool to bring new investment to the town as he joined him on the campaign trail.
Mr Farage said party chairman Richard Tice, who is running to become the town’s next MP, would be able to hold the Prime Minister to account on the day he announced a major policy change not to contest seats won by the Conservatives in the last General Election.
The party leader said Mr Tice was the kind of person who could help bring new money and jobs into the area using his background as a property businessman.
"We will put someone in Parliament who will hold the prime minister to his promises, we don't trust the Tories any more than the people of Hartlepool do,” said Mr Farage.
"We kicked off the idea of investment in the regions and now everybody is talking about it. Investment in the regions doesn't have to just come from the public sector it can come from the private sector.
"[Richard] Tice is the kind of guy who over the last 20 years has led huge consortiums and investments and without making any false promises he is perhaps the kind of guy who can bring that investment to the area."
Mr Farage also used the visit to Hartlepool to make a key announcement on his party’s election strategy.
At a press conference at the Grand Hotel, he said the party will not fight 317 Tory-held seats to avoid splitting the leave vote and creating the possibility of a hung parliament or a second referendum.
Mr Farage said: “The Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election.
"But what we will do is concentrate our total effort into all the seats that are held by the Labour Party, who have completely broken their manifesto pledge in 2017 to respect the result of the referendum.
"And we will also take on the rest of the Remainer parties.”
He said he was swayed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying that he will not extend the Brexit transition period beyond 2020, and that he would seek a Canada-style free trade deal without political alignment which Mr Farage said is a "significant change".
In response to the announcement Mr Johnson tweeted: “We welcome Nigel Farage’s recognition that another gridlocked hung Parliament is the greatest threat to getting Brexit done.
“If we have another hung Parliament it would lead to two more chaotic referendums next year.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “One week ago Donald Trump told Nigel Farage to make a pact with Boris Johnson.
“Today, Trump got his wish. This Trump alliance is Thatcherism on steroids and could send £500 million a week from our NHS to big drugs companies. It must be stopped.”
Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson said: “The Conservative Party are the Brexit Party now.”
Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice, who was involved in the decision, said: “This is the way to make sure there is not a second referendum and we can get a proper Brexit.”
‘Here on the right day’
Mr Farage and Mr Tice later visited memorials to the bombardment of Hartlepool on the Headland including the spot where the first soldier was killed on British soil in the First World War.
Mr Farage said he had been told of the bombardment by a First World War veteran he met 20 years ago who joined up after the attack on the town.
He said of the bombardment: “It’s a heck of a story.
“I’ve always been interested in history. We’re here on absolutely the right day (November 11).”