A General Election candidate standing in support of the Save the Friarage Campaign, who was previously planning to stand for the Brexit Party, says he will pursue a clean break from the EU as well as lobby hard for additional funding for the hospital if he wins.
Nick Jardine announced last week that he was standing as an independent in the Richmond constituency and would be doing so in support of the campaign group battling cuts at the Northallerton hospital.
It has since emerged that Mr Jardine, a retired engineer from Great Smeaton, was previously planning to stand for the Brexit Party in the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency.
The candidate said the swap did not mean he had “suddenly had a Damascene conversion”.
“People should be aware that if elected, I will pursue a clean break from the EU as well as lobby hard for additional funding to the Friarage,” he added.
Mr Jardine said that prior to April he had never belonged to a political party and never considered being in politics.
“The ongoing debacle in Westminster since the Referendum however opened my eyes to the problems inherent in the perpetual stalemate caused by the two party system.
“Hence when the Brexit Party was formed, I joined straight away because in my view it represents a democratic response to the situation.
“I then applied to be a parliamentary candidate and was honoured to have been selected by the party to stand for the Harrogate & Knaresborough constituency.
“As you are aware, this situation came to an abrupt halt when the Brexit Party chose to stand down all of its candidates in Conservative held seats.
“Having been poised to spend the next few months fighting in a general election I was suddenly left with a lot of spare time on my hands.”
Mr Jardine said it was a chance conversation with a friend that resulted in him deciding to stand as an independent candidate supporting another cause which he said he felt equally passionate about.
“As I have previously mentioned, I lost my wife to cancer earlier in the year and over the period of her illness I experienced at first hand the wonderful care that the Friarage Hospital provides to the community.
“It therefore struck me that I could instead devote my efforts to a different, some would say more worthy cause.
“I therefore offered to stand as an Independent candidate in my home constituency in support of the Save the Friarage Campaign and was delighted when they accepted.”
“As you are aware, the campaign is an apolitical organisation which accepts the support of all the main political parties with the aim of reinstating the A&E Department at the Hospital which has recently been downgraded to an Urgent Treatment Centre.
“The intention of my campaign therefore is not to score political points but simply to register the enormous support which the Friarage has in the hearts of the community and by so doing clearly demonstrate to the ‘powers that be’ of the importance of it continuing to provide the highest levels of care to the community.
“To this end, I was heartened to see the considerable investment made recently in the new Oncology Unit which made such a difference in the later stages of my wife’s treatment.
“Let’s hope therefore that this marks the beginning of the end of a long decline – to paraphrase a slightly better known politician than myself.”