> UKIP candidates behaving badly…again.
Police had to be called to a public meeting when a UKIP candidate standing in tomorrow’s local elections was thrown out.
A torrent of swearing and shouting led to Stephen Brand being asked to leave the Park Hotel in Tynemouth following his outburst at North Tyneside Question Time run by the People’s Assembly on Monday night.
He is standing in North Tyneside’s Chirton ward for the UK Independence Party against independent candidate Amanda Normand, Labour’s Margaret Reynolds and the Conservative candidate Heather Sarin.
Two officers from Northumbria Police were called to the sea-front hotel at around 7.50pm to calm scenes in the hotel’s ballroom after Mr Brand interrupted a speaker during a discussion on education.
Despite being told by audience members to be quiet and sit down and wait his turn to speak, he continued to shout and became aggressive when event organisers approached him to usher him out of the room.
At one point he shouted that if anyone laid a hand on him “it would be assault”.
A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “We were called to the Park Hotel in Tynemouth following reports of a man shouting during a meeting.
“Officers attended and at the request of the manager, officers asked him to leave, which he did.”
He received no police caution or warning for his behaviour and willingly left the scene.
However his outburst just days before the election was not welcomed by fellow UKIP candidate Gary Legg, who is standing in the Monkseaton South ward.
The former member of the RAF had been invited as part of a panel of six representatives from political parties for the question-and-answer session and he is now working with the party to clarify how events unfolded on Monday night.
Joan Hewitt, who co-organised the event on behalf of the People’s Assembly, said: “Normally I wouldn’t condone the highlighting of an unpleasant incident but I think this shows that this particular UKIP candidate was not agreeing with the nature of the event, which was participatory.”
Also speaking on the panel was North Tyneside’s current Labour deputy mayor Bruce Pickard, Alan Furness, who is standing as a Conservative candidate in Valley, Martin Collins for the Green Party in Wallsend, Tim Wall standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Benton and David Taws, the independent candidate for Collingwood.
A spokesman for UKIP said the party was conducting an inquiry into the incident, however Mr Brand will still stand on Thursday.
He said: “There is a suggestion of provocation. We would apologise however.
“It will be referred to the national executive committee who will look at everything and the committee may determine what the appropriate action is that should be taken.
“It’s very difficult before an election to do anything else. Ballot papers have gone out and they have got his name on it.”
Source – Newcastle Journal, 21 May 2014
SUNDERLAND will be without a fire station in the city centre for the first time in more than 100 years, it was decided today.
The announcement comes as Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service faces making cuts of £5million.
The Fire Authority met today opting to close the central station in a move that will also see the loss of 131 frontline firefighter posts.
The move was condemned by union bosses.
FBU Tyne and Wear Brigade Secretary Dave Turner said: “Reductions in Government funding have already seen years of cuts to our service, and during the consultation process Fire Brigade Union members across the region made it clear that further reductions will jeopardise the safety of firefighters and the public.”
The move to close the station will leave the city without a central station for the first time since 1908.
It comes just weeks after Northumbria Police announced proposals to close Gill Bridge police station, leaving Wearside without a police base in the city centre for the first time in 100 years.
Today, the FBU has also questioned the necessity of further cuts while the fire authority is holding unprecedented reserve levels of £25-£35 million.
The authority is also considering the introduction of ‘targeted response vehicles’ — vans staffed by two firefighters — to compensate for losses of firefighters and fire engines, and the construction of a new fire station in the Benton area of Newcastle to compensate for the closures.
It is hoped the job losses can be met through natural wastage.
Source – Sunderland Echo, 20 Jan 2014
One in every five firefighters in Tyne and Wear could be made redundant after the region’s fire service announced proposals to cut over £5 million from its budget.
The authority is consult on three options, including using smaller response vehicles or axing up to six engines.
Option one includes “standing down” engines on quieter nights and reducing fire fighter cover at some stations.
Option 2 would see the same cuts plus the closure of community fire stations in Wallsend and Gosforth with services moving to a new facility at Benton.
A third option sees closures in Sunderland.
If all options are backed then 131 firefighting jobs – 20% of the workforce – would go. An aerial ladder platform would also be lost.
Brigade Secretary Dave Turner said “We have made it clear in all recent discussions with senior managers that we will oppose any further cuts to frontline services.
“These are the most devastating cuts in the service’s history and will mean firefighters and the public will be at far greater risk if these cuts go ahead.
“It also means that areas of Tyne and Wear will be left without cover for extended periods – again increasing the risk to both the public and firefighters alike.”
Fire service bosses will decide on the cuts in January.
Source – Newcastle Journal 23 Oct 2013