The Green Party is furious after its general election candidate, Rachael Roberts, was not invited by BBC Look North to take part in its TV debate on the streets of Berwick today.
Tim Roake, the Berwick Green Party’s press officer, described the explanation given to him by BBC Look North as “not good enough” after only four of the six candidates vying for the Berwick seat were invited to take part in the question-and-answer session on Marygate. The English Democrat candidate was also missing.
Mr Roake said:
“The Green Party is the third biggest in the Berwick constituency, if not the second biggest. When I asked why Rachael was not invited, I was told they had looked at the previous election results and the European elections. But we did not stand in those elections. They used old information and it is not good enough.”
> That sounds a bit bizarre, even for the media. The BBC must have noticed the surge in membership of the Greens locally.
A spokesperson for BBC North East and Cumbria said:
“Based on BBC guidelines, we only invited the four main candidates to our Look North hot seats in Berwick. We will be filming a separate hot seat with Green Party candidate Rachael Roberts.”
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 14 Apr 2015
Berwick constituency, vacant following the retirement of Sir Alan Beith (Lib Dem).
►Nigel Revell Coghill-Marshall (Ukip)
►Scott Dickinson (Labour)
►Neil Humphrey (English Democrats)
►Julie Pörksen (Liberal Democrats)
►Rachael Roberts (Green Party)
►Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Conservative)
The English Democrats have joined the general election race in the Berwick constituency by putting up a candidate for the May 7 vote.
Neil Humphrey has been selected as the party’s representative for the Berwick seat, giving voters six choices on the ballot paper next month.
►Scott Dickinson (Labour)
►Nigel Coghill-Marshall (UKIP)
►Julie Pörksen (Liberal Democrats)
►Rachael Roberts (Green Party)
►Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Conservative)
The English Democrats are campaigning for the creation of an English Parliament and executive within the United Kingdom with the same powers as the Scottish Parliament and executive.
The party’s main policies include restricting immigration to a points system. They would like to make St George’s Day a national holiday. The English Democrats also believe England should leave the EU via a referendum.
Mr Humphrey was a member of the Labour Party for 30 years before moving to UKIP, and then joined the English Democrats.
He says he would campaign for the A1 to be upgraded to a dual carriageway all the way up to the Scottish border. It follows the government’s financial pledge at the end of last year to dual the A1 only as far as Ellingham.
He believes pedestrian access, lorry turning and icy conditions have not been taken into account.
Mr Humphrey says the Berwick electorate should be concerned about concessions made to the SNP if they end up holding the balance of power after the election.
He said: “I think the constituency should be concerned about sleazy, back-room ‘horsetrading’ for a SNP backed coalition.
“I want a commitment that there can be no border move without a referendum on an area by area basis.”
Mr Humphrey says he understand the pressure on the NHS and wants things to change.
He said: “My wife is a retired ambulance woman. For some time I have been against super-hospitals, which move A&E further away and the running down of services.”
Mr Humphrey would also like to reintroduce so-called “Men’s Sheds” and open this up to younger ages.
He said: “Tools experience and career knowledge can be shared. We will fight to keep open libraries and protect budgets nationally from cuts.
“Working in control systems automation, there are very few senior engineers younger than myself. In 10-15 years time, we’ll all be retiring. All that infrastructure we rely on … we will have to import foreign immigrants. I believe we should be transferring those skills to the younger generation.
“I would like to see those who can program their mobile phones, or wire a car stereo, to be shown how in demand their skills could be in automation. That includes younger adolescences tempted by crime.”
Mr Humphrey’s also said he would like to see more professionals encouraged to enter politics and become members of parliament.
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 07 Apr 2015
A town councillor from Alnwick has been selected as the Green Party candidate for the general election.
The decision to choose Rachael Roberts, 42, to stand for the Berwick constituency seat in May was unanimous.
Ms Roberts has lived in Alnwick for nine years and works as a guidance team manager and practitioner at Newcastle University’s careers service.
She has been a member of the Green Party for six years and was elected to Alnwick Town Council in 2011.
In line with Green Party philosophy, she says she is passionate about the need for change within national politics and wants to move away from the “negative campaigning seen at the moment.”
Having been active in her local community, Ms Roberts is also keen to bring decision making as close as possible to those it affects.
“I think we are seeing a Green surge because people are pleasantly surprised by Green Party policies, including scrapping tuition fees, bringing the railways back into public ownership, stopping the privatisation of the NHS, investing in decent jobs and building truly affordable housing.”
She is supporting Save Druridge, the campaign to protect the beautiful area of Druridge Bay against plans for an opencast coal mine.
The Berwick constituency Green Party said in a statement:
“In the run-up to the May election, voters in the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency will see a new force in politics – a force that will be campaigning strongly for change and policies that work for the common good.
“This will be ably lead by Rachael who is already an experienced campaigner and a well-known local figure.
“Rachael and the local Green Party will be working hard to meet with constituents and hear their views.”
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 05 Feb 2015
The Green Party has announced its intention to contest the general election in the Berwick constituency.
The Greens plan to put forward a candidate to stand in May after the forming of local branch of the national party.
A statement read:
“The Green Party are delighted to announce the formation of a local branch of the national party, to represent the interests of the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency and to give voters in north Northumberland a wider range of choice than ever before at the forthcoming general election.”
The party has not had been on a general election ballot paper for the Berwick constituency since 1987 when Nigel David Pamphilion received 379 votes.
A group of people from the north Northumberland area met in Alnwick before Christmas and agreed to form a local branch of the national party, with the urgent aim to ensure that there is a locally-based Green Party candidate on the ballot paper in May.
The party’s next meeting is in Berwick on Saturday.
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 05 Jan 2015
> The Northumberland “I’m more local than you are” cat fight rumbles on…
A would-be MP is urging her political opponents to sign a fair-fight pledge after a row over being local.
Election leaflets put out across the Berwick Constituency from Liberal Democrat candidate Julie Pörksen have sparked comment.
The latest leaflet appears to pick on Conservative candidate Anne-Marie Trevelyan because she worked in London, and question her status as a Northumbrian.
Ms Trevelyan said: “I am genuinely surprised that the Lib Dems decided to try to pick a fight on my local credentials as I have been fighting for Northumberland and ‘being local,’, for nearly 20 years.
“Whereas their candidate has been working in London for a firm of spin doctors and as a member of Nick Clegg’s team for the last 20 years. She stood as a council candidate for a London council seat recently claiming that she was local to Pimlico, one of the poshest parts of central London, having been there bringing up her kids for 10 years.
“Perhaps the Lib Dems who now seem to be running things locally would like to sign a pledge for a fair-fight campaign. In the last general election, against Sir Alan Beith, we were able to have a civilised campaign where every candidate presented their plans and credentials honestly, without criticism of others.
“I came into politics because I hated all the spin peddled by Tony Blair and hoped I might be able to bring some blunt honesty to representing our patch. Over my eight years as Conservative candidate voters have always said that is what they want, so perhaps the Lib Dem camp could join me and others in signing a fair-fight pledge.”
Ms Pörksen said: “I grew up here in the Berwick constituency – many farming people know my father. One of the reasons I am so passionate about the right for free post-16 transport to college and school is because I used to get the bus to Ponteland High School in the eighties so know first-hand what it’s like growing up in rural Northumberland with poor public transport, dependent on parents – to be able to get to school should be a basic right.
“However, like many Northumbrians, the lack of local jobs forced me to move away. Moving back to Northumberland was the best thing I could ever do for my children. I want to represent the area where I grew up and which I love in Parliament to make sure future generations aren’t forced to make the same decisions I had to, that there are well paid jobs and decent opportunities here for our young people.”
> The locality question doesn’t appear to have touched Alan Beith, the current MP, who was born in Cheshire.
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 08 Aug 2014
> Cat fight ! The ConDem coalition obviously doesn’t extend to Northumberland…
A parliamentary candidate in Northumberland has been accused of hypocrisy after claiming to be local to the county – but also to London.
Julie Pörksen, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Berwick, has been criticised by Conservative opponents after they discovered literature from when she ran for council in London describing her as ‘local’.
They say the claim is at odds with Mrs Pörksen’s assertions to be ‘local’ in the Berwick seat.
The candidate has defended her local credentials in the county, while her party has laid into the Tories accusing them of “silly attacks.”
Mrs Pörksen’s rivals took to social media to post a leaflet from 2010 when she stood for election for the Lib Dems at Pimlico, London.
The leaflet describes her as a “local mum” and “local resident.”
The Tories say the leaflet is at odds with Mrs Pörksen’s claims in the Berwick constituency, with her website describing her as “a key local campaigner” and press releases referring to her as “local” and “Northumbrian.”
They have also highlighted the fact she lives in the Wansbeck constituency, at Hepscott.
Richard Wearmouth, Conservative chairman for Wansbeck, said: “I am shocked by these revelations, Julie Pörksen has gone out of her way to portray herself as the “local” candidate for Berwick.
“Indeed, she and her colleagues based their campaign in the recent Longhoughton by-election on the fact that they were local campaigners and criticised the Conservative candidate for living just outside the ward even though he had previously lived in the ward for many years.
“The fact that it now emerges that Mrs Pörksen not only does not live in the Berwick constituency, but has recently campaigned for a London council seat describing herself as the ‘local’ candidate in Pimlico, leaves her open to the accusation of hypocrisy.”
Mrs Pörksen responded: “I grew up here in the Berwick constituency – many farming people know my father as a leading light in the local NFU.
“However, like many Northumbrians, the lack of local jobs forced me to look to move away.
“Moving back to Northumberland was the best thing I could ever do for my children and my family is in the process of moving to Rothbury where my children start school in September.
“I want to represent the area where I grew up and which I love in parliament to make sure that future generations aren’t forced to make the same decisions I had to, that there are well paid jobs and decent opportunities here for our young people.”
A local Lib Dem spokesperson added: “When people vote next May, they aren’t going to be swayed by silly attacks.
“They will ask themselves who will fight for us – a former city corporate financier whose local party receives funding from a Russian businessman, and whose party wants local workers to get paid less than those down south; or Julie who was brought up here and will fight for local people to get the A1 dualled, health services in Berwick improved and make sure our new school gets built in Alnwick.”
Source – Newcastle Journal, 02 Aug 2014