Hartlepool, which voted to leave the EU by 69.6 percent, was visited by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage last weekend. During his trip, he called for Brexit to be delivered to help boost struggling employment rates in the area. He said: “I want Brexit. That means not being in the customs union, not being in the single market, not being governed by any foreign courts and the sooner we get Brexit done the better and we can get on with the rest of our lives.
“200 miles of that sea would be ours. Just think how many men would be working in these harbours if we got that.”
John Tennant, a Hartlepool councillor hoping to be elected as one of the North-East of England’s MEPs on May 23, believes Brexit could be an opportunity for the town to get back on its feet.
He says Hartlepool, which was once famous for its thriving shipbuilding industry, has seen “much decline” in industry over recent years.
Mr Tennant said to Express.co.uk: “The North East is an area that has seen much decline in industry, particularly recently in regard to the SSI site, and our Government, whether it be a Labour or Tory one, was not able to step in and bail out the site due to EU Competition rules.
“It is exactly this sort of interference that demonstrates the need to leave and set our own rules to prevent this kind of disastrous loss of livelihood for so many people.
“The Brexit Party is a new movement of people from all walks of life and differing political backgrounds that agree on one fundamental issue – democracy.
“Hartlepool has suffered badly in its local fisheries and industry, after Brexit we will get back our territorial waters and help bring jobs to make Hartlepool a place that can thrive and rebuild its local economy.”
The town was one of the top 30 poorest towns in England and Wales in 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics figures.
Hartlepool Borough Council was also one of the top 10 local authorities in the UK with the highest levels of unemployment in 2017.
Mr Tennant added the Conservatives have so far “failed to honour” the referendum result and the wishes of people in Hartlepool, who are desperately seeking change.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement has been rejected by MPs three times, which has resulted in the UK’s EU exit date being delayed until October 31.
Mr Tennant said: “The referendum asked us a binary question, leaving meant leaving the single market and customs union, remaining meant no change. We should leave on World Trade Organisation terms so that we can build stronger links with the Commonwealth and put ourselves in a better position to negotiate a free trade relationship with the EU – a fundamental reason I wanted us to leave the EU, free trade not political union.
“The Conservatives have failed to honour the referendum result, it is not just the Tories, Labour have also failed to recognise that many of their voters also voted to leave and their position on Brexit is to back a second referendum, which is a slap in the face to many working class people who won’t back Labour anymore.
“The Brexit Party is about changing politics. It is about bringing people from all backgrounds together to give people a chance to reject the political class and their failure to listen to the wishes of people in a vote in June 2016 they asked us to decide upon.”