Why descendant of modern Hartlepool's founder Ralph Ward-Jackson is not standing in General Election

A descendant of a man credited with building modern Hartlepool has decided not to stand for election.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 6:00 am
Ralph Ward-Jackson recreates a pose by a statue of his ancestor in Church Street.

Ralph Ward-Jackson, 48, a great-nephew and namesake of the founder of West Hartlepool, has decided not to stand as a Conservative Candidate in next month’s General Election.

He said he made the decision after watching Nigel Farage’s announcement in Hartlepool that The Brexit Party will not fight seats won by the Tories in 2017.

Mr Ward-Jackson, a London-based businessman, said: "My decision to withdraw was entirely my own. I literally saw Nigel Farage on TV being statesmanlike.

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Ralph Ward-Jackson outside The Ward Jackson pub in Hartlepool named after his ancestor.

“I decided that my withdrawing would be a small gesture of gratitude to him, hopefully laying the ground for some kind of national Leave Alliance, whether formal or informal.

“I do not want to split the anti-Labour and Leave vote and risk returning the socialists who have failed the town for so long.

"I hope that the Conservative Party feels able to make some kind of reciprocal gesture at the national level.

"Had Mr Farage not extended this olive branch to the Conservative Party I would have relished the contest.”

Ralph Ward-Jackson

Mr Ward-Jackson, whose ancestor was a Conservative MP for the town between 1868 and 1874, has also ruled out standing as an independent candidate.

He added: "In this particular election I would be very worried about splitting the [Leave] vote further.

“The truth is that sadly it's virtually impossible for a real independent to be elected.

“It hasn't happened in this country since at least 1945. In 1997 with Martin Bell Labour and the Lib Dems stood down.

“A real independent has no chance of being elected sadly because I think Parliament would greatly benefit from more independent MPs rather than just ambitious professional politicians.”

Mr Ward-Jackson said he had not thought about entering politics for 25 until the Brexit deadlock this year.

He added: "It wasn't just about politics. It was as much about reminding the town of my family’s historical links to it and to say that we are still very proud of that connection.

“All politics aside, I wanted to let Hartlepudlians know that in me you will always have a good friend and loyal ally in London.”