Hartlepool founder Ralph Ward-Jackson's descendant backing Brexit with bid to become town MP

A descendant and namesake of one of the founders of modern Hartlepool put himself forward as the town’s Brexit Party candidate in the next General Election.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 16:45 pm
Updated Friday, 6th September 2019, 13:41 pm
Ralph Ward-Jackson during a visit to the Museum of Hartlepool.

Ralph Ward-Jackson, named after his great-great uncle, who founded West Hartlepool, was interviewed by Brexit Party selectors, but lost out to former Hartlepool United chairman Ken Hodcroft.

Mr Ward-Jackson, 48, a businessman based in London, says he would consider standing as an independent candidate if the other pro-Brexit parties backed him.

He joined the Brexit Party soon after it was formed by ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage in April.

Mr Ward-Jackson said: “I was so fed up with Theresa May's disastrous government that I joined in pure frustration.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i politics newsletter cut through the noise

"My family hasn't lived in or near there since the 1940s, but it retains a very special place in our hearts and I make a point to visit every year.

"It doesn't entitle me to anything at all, but having a high name recognition means at least you are going to be listened to. If people decide then not to back you it is up to them.

"I felt at this time of national crisis I was team Brexit and Hartlepool was a very high Brexit voting town so it felt as if the fates were converging again.

"I don't know anything about Ken Hodcroft. Maybe he's a very fine fellow. He must have quite a high recognition in the constituency as well." Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice said their chosen candidates had all achieved outside of Westminster, having launched successful charities and multi-million-pound business.

Ralph Ward-Jackson’s legacy is still strongly seen in the town having a park, school and several pubs named after him.

He served as a Conservative MP for the town from 1868-1874.

Mr Ward-Jackson added: “I would consider standing as an independent candidate if all three pro-Brexit parties – Brexit Party, Ukip and Conservatives – united behind me.”

Hartlepool had one of the highest leave votes in the country in the 2016 referendum with 69.6%.