Hartlepool councillor standing for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party for North East in European elections

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A senior Hartlepool councillor has revealed why he is standing for the Brexit Party in the European elections later this month.

Coun John Tennant, who represents the Jesmond ward on Hartlepool Borough Council and is the leader of the Independent Union Party, is one of the candidates hoping to be elected as one of three MEPs for the North East.

It comes as voters will be heading to the polls again on May 23 as elections to the European Parliament will be held across the continent.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage visited Hartlepool at the weekend and urged people to head to the polls to vote in this month’s European elections.

Coun Tennant, standing for the Brexit Party, said he is standing as he wants to ensure Brexit is delivered, and to ‘uphold the vote of British people’.

He said: “I’m standing because three years on from the referendum we’re still members of the EU, we’re supposed to have left.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage visits Hartlepool on the EU election campaign trail.  Picture by Tom Banks

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage visits Hartlepool on the EU election campaign trail. Picture by Tom Banks

“We’re having to take part in the elections three years on from voting to leave.

“I want to be positive about Brexit and the opportunities it brings. It give us the opportunity to trade with 85% of the world not in the EU on our own terms.

“Ultimately it comes down to democracy. The real point of why I’m standing is to uphold the democracy of the British people and to put pressure on the European parliament.

“It’s also to put pressure on Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, who are trying all they can to disrupt Brexit or even stop it.

“However if I’m elected hopefully we won’t be in for very long.”

Back in the 2016 Referendum, 32,071 people voted to leave –  69.6% of the vote – compared to 14,029 who voted to remain.

In the European elections people vote for the party group, not an individual, and each party lists three candidates ranked in order of who will get elected.

A proportional system is used to allocate the seats – for example, a party with one third of the vote would get one seat- with Coun Tennant the second candidate for the Brexit Party on the North East region.

Coun Tennant said he was delighted to be selected as one of three candidates, and was not expecting to be listed.

He said: “When the party opened applications I applied, I couldn’t sit back and do nothing about it.

“When I heard back saying I was elected I didn’t expect it at all, given the number of people applying, but I was delighted to be selected.”

Coun Tennant said if he is elected it will not impact on the time and work he will be putting into Hartlepool Borough Council matters.

He said: “I can balance them both, people have been MEPs and councillors in the past.

“I will still be just as active as a local councillor.

“Absolutely I have enjoyed the extra work that has come with it and combining both roles.”

Coun Tennant is just one of 21 candidates across seven parties standing in the European elections for the North East, with three being elected in total.

Full list of candidates:

Change UK – The Independent Group

1). Frances Weetman

2). Penny Hawley

3). Kathryn Heywood

Conservative and Unionist Party

1). Richard Lawrie

2). Chris J Galley

3). Duncan Crute

Green Party

1). Rachel Featherstone

2). Jonathan Elmer

3). Dawn Furness

Labour Party

1). Jude Kirton-Darling

2). Paul Brannen

3). Clare Penny-Evans

Liberal Democrats

1). Fiona Hall

2). Julie Pörksen

3). Aidan  King

The Brexit Party

1). Brian Monteith

2). John Tennant

3). Richard Monaghan

UK Independence Party (UKIP)

1). Richard Elvin

2). Christopher Gallacher

3). Alan Breeze

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service