Former Newcastle United owner Sir John Hall backs Jarrow Conservative candidate's General Election bid
Former Newcastle United owner Sir John Hall has backed the Conservatives’ bid to win the Labour stronghold of Jarrow at next month’s General Election.
Sir John, who guided the club from near the bottom of the old Second Division to the Champions League in the 1990s, travelled from his Northumberland home to meet Tory candidate Nick Oliver and mingled with supporters and voters at Jarrow Conservative Club.
Speaking to the Gazette at the Bede Burn Road club, MetroCentre builder Sir John said: “I have known him for some time. He is very keen to be a member of Parliament, he is from the region, knows the region and knows the issues.
“He is a clever lad, he knows how to talk and listen to people.”
Labour have held the Jarrow constituency for 84 years since local legend Ellen Wilkinson triumphed over defending Tory William Pearson in 1935.
Sir John, a long-time Conservative supporter, said: “It is going to be a hard battle, we know that, we are no fools.
“But I think attitudes are changing in places like Jarrow and people are starting to realise that the Conservative Party have something to offer.
“I think he can do it but it will be a very difficult task. You are partly in the hands of the national picture and people do not have confidence in the national parties. He has to try to get over that.”
Mr Oliver added: “It is fantastic to see him make the effort to support our campaign.
“Sir John is a successful businessman who has achieved so much for the North-East and cares so much for the region.”
Mr Oliver, 53, a Northumberland county councillor from Corbridge, is seeking to overturn a 17,263 majority earned by former Labour MP Stephen Hepburn at the 2017 General Election.
The other candidates alphabetically are Mark Anthony Conway (Social Democratic Party), James Paul Milne (Green Party), Richard Leslie Monaghan (Brexit Party), Kate Osborne (Labour Party), John Andrew Robertson (Independent), Shaun William Sadler (Independent) and David Wilkinson (Liberal Democrats).
Mr Hepburn was banned by Labour from contesting the seat he held since 1997 as he is suspended by the party while they re-investigate an historic allegation of sexual harassment.