An election candidate made a brave revelation that she is a victim of rape during a hustings on female issues organised by the Darlington and Durham Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre.
Liberal Democrat candidate Anne-Marie Curry told the large gathering at Darlington Dolphin Centre’s Central Hall that it took her 22-years to accept she had been in an abusive relationship during her early 20s.
She described how she had witnessed some awful treatment of women during her upbringing in Uganda and that she had been threatened with knives when she later lived in Holland.
She said: “I seem to have opened myself up to rather destructive relationships from then on.
“At the age of 21 I was in a relationship and he was emotionally bullying me, hitting me and raping me.
“I didn’t realise that at the time, I only realised that in my 40s.”
Ms Curry’s revelation earned a round of applause and she said she wanted to speak out to bring the issue of domestic violence into the open.
“I can understand that women in that situation can find it really, really difficult to cope with what has happened to them.
“I am now coping, I am strong and I really want to shout about it because it (domestic abuse) is wrong.
Labour candidate Jenny Chapman said she was “blown away” and felt humbled by what Ms Curry had shared.
The hustings, chaired by Durham University professor Nicole Westmarland, touched on a range of female issues including funding problems experienced by rape crisis and support centres and whether more should be done to educate youngsters about domestic abuse.
The problems experienced by many victims of domestic abuse throughout the legal process were also highlighted, with all candidates agreeing that more needed to be done to support them.
All candidates also agreed that abuse and crimes against women were a key issue and Ms Chapman said that Labour planned to scrap Police and Crime Commissioners and would appoint a Women’s Commissioner in parliament.
The hustings was attended by Darlington’s candidates for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, Green, Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties who all signed a pledge to support women’s services.
UKIP candidate Dave Hodgson could not attend due to work commitments.
> Could he, given his party’s record, have signed it with a clear conscience anyway ?
Source – Northern Echo, 02 May 2015
Easington MP Grahame Morris has called on Parliament to launch an inquiry into foreign state-owned companies owning UK rail firms.
Mr Morris said British commuters, who suffer the highest rail prices in Europe, are subsidising foreign passengers.
MPs from Parliament’s rail group have called for an urgent inquiry.
It follows a decision to award the Scotrail franchise to Dutch state-owned firm Abellio, and also research showed 20 of the UK’s 27 private rail services are owned by foreign state-owned or backed railways.
Mr Morris said British commuters have experienced substandard services for decades adding:
“Often the very same operators that are using British commuters as cash cows are foreign state-owned companies that then hold down fares and improve services back in their own countries.
“That British commuters are expected to both suffer the failure of rail privatisation as well as subsidise commuters in Holland, Germany and France adds insult to injury.”
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 18 Oct 2014
A grieving South Tyneside man is facing a cash crisis after returning to the UK.
Eric Lugg, 57, who was born and raised in Jarrow, returned to his home town this month after the death of his Dutch wife, Corrie.
The couple lived near Breda, in southern Holland, for five years, but Mr Lugg, who works in the building trade, decided to return to his native Jarrow after his 58-year-old wife died of cancer late last year.
However, because he does not yet satisfy new, tougher UK residency rules, he cannot claim benefits, and is desperately seeking work in the building trade.
And he fears he will lose his one-bedroom flat in St Paul’s Road, Jarrow, because he has no money for the next £360 monthly rent payment, due on July 9.
But Mr Lugg stresses he is still a British passport holder and worked and paid taxes in the UK all his life, until moving from Murton, in County Durham, to Holland, with his wife five years ago.
He said: “I’m in limbo because of the benefit rules. I literally have no money left, and spent all I had on Corrie’s funeral in Holland and on the deposit on my flat. But the rent is due in two weeks’ time and I will not be able to pay it, unless I can find work in the building trade locally.
“I have worked and paid taxes all my life, but I cannot get a penny in benefit until I have been resident in the UK for three months.
“I’m not looking for hand-outs, but I paid insurance and taxes and all the rest in this country before I lived in Holland, but that counts for nothing.
“A friend helped me decorate the flat, but I cannot be a burden on my family in Jarrow.
“Life was far too expensive in Holland, but I need help to find a job, otherwise I don’t know what I will do. I literally have no money left and must find work in the building trade, if anyone can give me a start.”
Mr Lugg has contacted Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn for help after his application for Jobseeker’s Allowance was rejected by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
A DWP spokesman said: “It is absolutely right that we have strict rules in place to protect the British benefits system and make sure it is not abused.
“As has always been the case, anyone who chooses to live in another country for a long period of time – and so isn’t contributing in Britain – must, if they return to the UK and want to claim benefits, prove that they have strong ties to this country in order to pass the habitual residence test.”
The new DWP rules, which came into force on January 1 this year, mean that someone has to be living in this country for three months before they can take the habitual residence test.
The rules apply to migrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) countries coming here to look for work – including British nationals returning to the UK after a period living abroad.
Source – Shields Gazette, 20 June 2014