Following the resignation of Labour MP Tristram Hunt in Stoke-on-Trent, UKIP announced that new party leader Paul Nuttall MEP will be our candidate in the subsequent byelection.
The seat is historically a Labour stronghold but their majority was down to 5000 at the 2015 General Election and, significantly, it registered one of the highest Leave votes at last year’s referendum.
The poor turnout at the General Election (Just 49%) shows how disillusioned local voters are with the party that has represented them in the past.
If Labour lose this seat (Plus the other byelection in Copeland, another former stronghold with an even slimmer majority) then Labour could be consigned to a spot in a museum similar to the one that Mr Hunt has left his constituency to take up a post with.
With this in mind, it was no surprise to see Labour Shadow Chancellor and my old sparring partner, John McDonnell, go on the offensive during last Sunday’s Marr Show on the BBC. However, both his body language and his line of attack show why the Labour High Command are terrified of the UKIP challenge in the seat and must be contemplating the possibility of an embarrassing defeat.
Spin, smear and downright lies
Once again, McDonnell trotted out the standard lie about UKIP wanting to privatise the NHS – this has never been a part of any UKIP manifesto.
Paul Nuttall spoke a number of years ago about making the procurement arm of the NHS more competitive – common sense when we see some trusts paying £25 for a lightbulb and issuing costly prescriptions for painkillers that you can buy for as little as 30p at the pharmacy. Yet in Labour’s eyes, this is ‘privatisation’.
Our Party Chairman Paul Oakden writes,
At 11.00 this morning, we announced that our Party Leader, Paul Nuttall, would be UKIP’s candidate for the forthcoming by-election in Stoke-on-Trent Central, on Thursday 23 February.
Thanks to the Stoke-on-Trent branch and the great Mick Harold, who came only 5000 votes behind Tristram Hunt in 2015 but has gallantly ceded the candidacy to Paul, we now have the chance to see our Leader elected to Westminster for the first time.
It really can happen. Though Mick’s fantastic campaign pushed the Tories into third place by just 33 votes (0.2%) last time, our private polling shows that with Paul as our candidate we are only a handful of points behind Corbyn’s Labour – with the Conservatives stuck some 10 points behind, totally out of sight of a win.
We have worked and prayed for this moment. We took our last Party Leader to within 3000 votes of Parliament in South Thanet, in the face of one of the most vicious – and dubious – spoiler campaigns in recent history.
The Electoral Commission has given the LibDems the maximum £20,000 election fraud fine, ruled they committed multiple offences and referred them to the police. Guido had previously told how LibDem candidates had split their spending between their local and national spend – they even had a handy spreadsheet used to cook the books. Time and time again the LibDems told us they had done everything above board. The Electoral Commission’s investigation uncovered 307 payments totalling £184,676 which the candidate had split between local and national spend, but which were missing from the national return. They have ruled that the LibDems committed multiple offences under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act and issued them with the maximum fine. They also slammed the LibDems for contributing to “damage to public confidence” and “detriment to transparency in politics”. Here’s the real kicker: the Electoral Commission notes that knowingly or recklessly making a false declaration is a more serious criminal offence, of which they believe the LibDems are guilty. They have referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police…
Last week saw Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe visit Hillingdon for a Q&A session with local residents. Interested to hear what would be asked and how the Commissioner would lay out his roadmap for the borough, I attended the debate at The Civic Centre
Crime Statistics for the Borough
Sir Bernard was introduced to the crowd by Chairman David Brough of the Hayes Town partnership and was accompanied on stage by new acting Borough Commander, Supt Colin Wingrove.
Opening with a presentation of the statistics for crime in Hillingdon, the following were presented via a projector with Sir Bernard talking us through them –
Total recorded crime in Hillingdon Aug 15/16 – 1.5% increase (Additional 330 crimes)
This is why
Labour’s pro-EU stance is recruitment agent for UKIP
Gisela Stuart, the chair of Labour Leave, believes that Labour voters will struggle to understand how the party’s leadership can appear to offer tacit support to the austerity policies being visited on peripheral European countries, including Spain and Greece.
As the Greek government legislates for the latest set of tough spending cuts and reforms demanded in return for continuing to receive bailout funds from its eurozone partners, Stuart said: “I find it extraordinary that the left in particular is almost prepared to say: 50% youth unemployment is a price worth paying for EU integration.”
“The southern Mediterranean is in the process of sacrificing an entire generation of their youth for something which may not work.”
Today is polling day for the GLA elections. Many in the North of Hillingdon are rightly concerned about HS2.
If this is something that will affect your vote, below is the stance of all the major candidates in the Mayoral and Ealing&Hillingdon seat (With thanks to independent campaign group Hillingdon Against HS2 whose information I have used below)
Labour Sadiq Khan
Has not replied to any HAHS2 communication and did not respond to our invite to meet.
Abstained at the final vote but has been supportive of HS2 in the past.
Lab GLA Dr.Onkar Sahota
Current representative for Hillingdon and Ealing on the GLA
Has met with HAHS2, attended our last and other events
Hasn’t used his position to give any practical help
Offers sympathy locally but publicly supports HS2