This is what Nigel Farage and Richard Tice had to say on their Brexit Party campaign visit to Hartlepool
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and chairman Richard Tice sat down with the Hartlepool Mail on a visit to the town on Saturday, November 22.
The men were in Hartlepool as part of their General Election campaign, with Mr Tice standing for election in the town. They spent the day chatting with voters, visiting a number of locations and meeting with the media.
In an interview with the Mail, Mr Farage and Mr Tice told reporter Debra Fox of their vision for Hartlepool, how the community has been showing its support and what they hope to achieve if Mr Tice is elected as the town’s MP.
Here is what they had to say.
Mail: What have you made of the support in the town so far?
Nigel Farage (NF): "There's a big Leave vote here, a massive Leave vote here. It's been Labour for half a century and now the Labour Party wants them to vote again and people feel pretty insulted by that.
“Equally, there are Conservative voters here too. If they see that we are the real challenge for Labour I think they'll give us their votes as well. I think we're in the most strong position.”
Richard Tice: (RT): "We've had a fantastic response on the doorstep, people [are] really encouraged. Amazing how many people have never seen a candidate on their doorstep before.
“People realise to get rid of Labour, the only way to get rid of Labour here is to vote for the Brexit Party. The Tories haven't won here for 50 years, they can't win for the next 30 years. It's neck and neck, every vote counts."
Mail: What do you feel are the main issues for the people of Hartlepool, which you want to address?
RT: “I've stood on three key pledges. Firstly, to get a proper Brexit and hold the Tories to account to ensure we get the proper Brexit that people voted for.
“Secondly, I pledge to bring money and jobs into Hartlepool, which is what's needed and people appreciate that and know I've got a successful track record of doing so.
“There's so much that can be done and there's so much that needs to be done.
“People know that after decades of being ruled by the Labour Party they have been let down and they have been betrayed and jobs have left Hartlepool. It's now time to bring that back into Hartlepool."
Mail: What do you think you can personally do to bring that forward, for people who are disillusioned?
RT: "I've got a track record of succeeding in fixing things and making things happen. Where there's a problem find a solution.
“And it's about time that public investment and private investment came back into Hartlepool.
“We know people have continually raised concerns about what's happened to the hospital departments including the A&E being taken away from Hartlepool.
“That's got to stop. We've got to reverse those cuts here and bring public services and investments back into Hartlepool."
Mail: What is it that sticks out to you about Hartlepool and what it stands for?
NF: "It's distinctiveness. Almost the fact that it's on its own means it has a much stronger identity than towns that are joined up together.
“If you look at what's been happening politically at a council level, you can see that a political revolution has been going on in Hartlepool for some years anyway."
RT: "It's got an amazing sense of community as well that I've heard on the doorstep.
“People working together and really feeling that they need to be better led they need to have someone who's going to stand up and fight for the town and with the Brexit Party councillors leading the council and if we get a Brexit Party MP which obviously I'm backing for we know that we can get some real change."
Mail: What are the key Brexit Party messages that you want to drive home for people looking for the bullet points?
NF: "Three-and-a-half years since that big referendum vote and nothing delivered. Our confidence, our belief, our faith, our trust in politicians and Parliament has never been lower.
“We are the people, we are the ones that want radical change. We want a different voting system so more people can take part and be represented.
“We want to get rid of some of these fraudulent activities in postal voting and some of the nonsenses we've seen.
“The House of Lords is way past its sell-by date and the BBC is another anachronistic organisation.
“We live in an age of Netflix and streaming and choice - why are we taxed £154 a year just to have a television in our house?
“So, with what we're talking about is some real change. The idea that after Brexit things go back to the way we were before is not good enough. We want real change and I think if we don't, people will just stop voting."
RT: "It's so depressing when you hear that on the doorstep, they say 'I'm never voting again, my vote was betrayed, I'm not listened to, why should I bother again?' and we have to give people that hope, that belief again, because it's really important.
“People have to believe in democracy."
Mail: What do you want to do for the NHS? What is your vision?
RT: "All the main parties are on a sort of bidding war of supposedly throwing money at the NHS. You have no idea how many hospitals Boris is talking about, whether it's 40, 20 or six or minus six, but it's not a question actually of, everybody wants to keep investing in the NHS but it's got to be better managed, we've got to cut out the waste, we've got to stop the drugs companies ripping off the NHS.
“There's so much that needs to be done. We need better people coming in and managing these public services so that taxpayers' cash is invested properly and wisely."
Mail: If you are elected, what is going to be your first pledge for the town?
RT: "I'm going to work really closely with the council so we get many more council homes starting to be built. I've already spoken to the leader of the council, we've got sites available, we know how we can access the public funding for it.
“We need to now get on with it and give people real confidence. Of course, when you've got construction that brings in investment, it brings in jobs, and there's a huge multiply affect and that would be a really great first thing to be doing and accelerating and bring jobs and money into the town."
Mail: What do you both have to say to critics of the Brexit Party?
NF: "I've been told for 25 years that I was wasting my time. I was told for 25 years there would never be a referendum, I was told for 25 years we would never win the referendum and do you know what, we're living in different times. Things are changing very quickly, anyone that makes predictions like that is going to be made a fool of very easily.”
RT: "I'm hearing it on the doorstep. All around Hartlepool people have had enough. When you hear from an 80-year-old lady who has voted Labour since she was 18, she's had enough. It's time for change. Things are changing."