Jacob Young, the Teesside chemical worker who took the Coulby Newham ward from Labour in a council by-election in April, has been selected by the Conservative Party to contest the Middlesbrough seat in June’s General Election.
This follows the shock election of Conservative Ben Houchen as the Tees Valley Metro Mayor, in one of the first elections of its kind in the UK. The Metro Mayor election, which Mr Houchen described as a “political earthquake”, saw the Conservatives poll just 1,765 fewer votes than Labour across Middlesbrough.
In April, Jacob was elected as the first Conservative to represent the Coulby Newham ward since Middlesbrough became a unitary authority, with an 8.3% swing to the Conservatives. In an almost identical by-election in 2016, the Conservatives had polled third in the Coulby Newham ward behind both Labour and an independent candidate.
The recent electoral success of the Conservatives on Teesside and the poor performance of Labour in the Durham and Northumberland County Council elections makes the prospect of further electoral upsets likely on June 8th.
Jacob was born and bred in Middlesbrough. He trained at TTE and Teesside University, then followed his father and grandfather into the chemical industry, where he works as a Lead Technician for a global Petrochemical Company based at Wilton International. He contested the Redcar constituency in the 2015 General Election where he achieved an increase in the Conservative vote, and was an active part of the Vote Leave campaign during the EU referendum.
Jabob Young said: “I’m proud to come from Middlesbrough. In politics there is no greater honour than being asked to stand for your home town. Middlesbrough and Teesside get a lot of undeserved bad press, there are great things going on here and you don’t find a stronger community spirit anywhere. While politicians in other areas have got on and solved their problems, the Labour Party in Middlesbrough seem incapable of it. They wear the image of a deprived Teesside as of a badge of honour rather than doing anything to fight it.
“Following the EU referendum, in which unlike our Labour MP, I campaigned for a leave vote, the landscape of British politics has changed and the Tees Valley mayor election shows that Conservatives can win here. This election in June is a straight choice between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. We have to pick which one of them we trust get a good Brexit deal and which one we trust with our national defence. I’m with Mrs May.”