Peterborough schoolboy turned London lawyer plans return to the city... as MP fighting to overturn Brexit

A Peterborough schoolboy turned architect and anti-discrimination lawyer wants to return to the city as its new MP - and help stop Brexit.

Friday, 24th May 2019, 7:18 pm
Peter Ward in Bridge Street
Peter Ward in Bridge Street

Peter Ward moved to Peterborough aged 10, attending Fulbridge and The King's schools, before moving to London for work.

But he now hopes to make the city his home again, only this time as the first ever Renew Party MP if he can triumph ahead of a crowded field of 15 on June 6 - the date of a parliamentary by-election following the recall of Fiona Onasanya.

With so many candidates to choose from, and many standing on polarising Brexit tickets, Mr Ward insists Renew stands out by being the "true Remain party".

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Peter Ward in Bridge Street

The barrister, who specialises in anti-discrimination and sexual harrassment cases, stood unsuccessfully for the Green Party in the safe Labour seat of Ealing Southall at the 2017 General Election.

But despite admiring aspects of his old party, expecially its MP Caroline Lucas, Mr Ward said it, the Liberal Democrats and Labour all have Leave-supporting politicians in them, unlike Renew, which wants a second referendum to be held on whether the UK should leave the European Union.

"Although we do of course respect the will of the people and love democracy, the referendum was a huge, huge mistake that should not have happened," he told the Peterborough Telegraph on a brief break from campaigning.

"If you want to Remain and want to ensure you will have an MP that is utterly committed to that, I'm your choice.

"We are a new party - I don't like the term centrist, but we do listen to experts. Particlarly we are asking the question 'how did we get into the mess we are in now, and what are the answers?'

"We are tough on Brexit and tough on the causes of Brexit."

Mr Ward's campaign is also focusing on the environment, education and housing.

A driver of an electric car, he wants to see more charging points and bigger subsidies for electrical vehicles.

On top of that, he said: "Areas directly next to schools should by law have to become no idling areas for petrol and diesel cars and have to become clean air areas.

"The Green Party stands for every child being able to cycle safely to and from school. It's their idea but I would to go a step further and wherever possible people should be able to cycle to and from work."

Mr Ward started his career as an architectural technician after studying at Peterborough Regional College (which was then the technical college).

He said his experience of buying and redeveloping a housing estate in Ealing, where he lives, is a shining example of how the community can be brought together, with the removal of off-street parking bringing children out to play football, which in turn lead to parents communicating more with each other.

In Peterborough he wants to see an "Olympic" level of house building and for all social housing to be brought under local authority control.

Speaking of homes, Mr Ward said he would return to live here if elected, although his drinking haunt of the Old Still in Queensgate, and Baileys the bakers, are no longer present.

But even being on the list of candidates was very much in doubt for a time after Renew entered discussions with fellow Remain-supporting parties to enter a single, independent candidate for the by-election, with talks only breaking down late on.

Despite the uncertainty it created Mr Ward was understanding about the situation.

He said: "When I applied to Renew to stand here they said to me, and I accepted it, 'you may have to stand down in favour of a single Remain candidate'.

"I said 'that's fine'. There are some things more important than me standing here."