> 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
A public meeting has been called to debate benefits and welfare spending.
The debate is the second to be staged by Durham Democracy Forum, a new group set up to discuss the big political issues of the day.
The meeting will be held in Durham Town Hall on Thursday, May 1, at 6pm.
The panel will include:
– Chris Goulden, a member of the Social Security Advisory Committee which advises the Department for Work and Pensions;
– Ryan Bourne, head of public policy at the conservative Institute for Economic Affairs think tank;
– Paul Simpson, from Durham People’s Assembly.
Matters to be addressed include whether there should be any welfare cuts, if so, where they should fall and the bedroom tax.
All are welcome and entry is free. For further details; http://durhamdemocracyforum.org.uk/
Source – Northern Echo 18 April 2014
UKIP has found an unlikely ally in left-wing musician Billy Bragg after a move to host its largest ever rally at the SageGateshead.
The venue’s management was attacked on social media for itsdecision to provide the venue for the party’s spring meeting on St George’s Day in April.
After critics on the social networking site Twitter said the organisation had a “moral obligation” not to allow UKIP leader Nigel Farage to assemble his party on Tyneside, Bragg waded into the online spat to support the Sage.
Responding to online questioning, Mr Bragg – who regularly plays at the venue and was part of its recent poster campaign – wrote: “I don’t have a problem with it.
“We shouldn’t be complacent about UKIP, but denying them the right to hold meetings is not the way forward. Don’t UKIP have the right of assembly?”
> He may have a point – UKIP is home to so many fruitcakes that giving them the opportunity of making prats of themselves in public might be a good thing.
The meeting on the evening of April 23 will be the largest public meeting ever to be held by the party and its “early bird” free tickets have already been snapped up.
The Eurosceptic party has previously held a North East conference in Tynemouth but Nigel Farage will be speaking in person at this event.
> If anywhere in Tyne & Wear was going to host a UKIP conference, you’d have bet on it being Tynemouth 😉
After by-election successes across the country, Mr Farage has said he hopes to make considerable gains in May’s local and European elections.
Messages left for the Sage online from the public prompted the organisation’s general director Anthony Sargent to clarify his stance on hosting political events.
The music and concert venue has previously been booked to hold the meetings of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats and Mr Sargent said: “Picking and choosing between political views would be an indefensible position and that really would be letting the local community down.
“We need to give these people a platform, then trust the democratic process to separate the wheat from the chaff. We have no opinion on UKIP nor do we on the Conservatives, Labour or Liberal Democrats.”
Quoting political philosopher John Stuart Mill, he added: “There’s a very basic freedom of speech right in the UK which is prized by the British whether or not you agree with a set of opinions. It’s a foundational right living in Britain that you have the right to express yourself.”
One critic of the planned conference, Alan Verth, wrote on Twitter that Sage needed to consider its “moral obligations to community” while a user of the site calling himself Trevstanley called it a“disgusting” move and would not be visiting the Sage again.
Mr Verth wrote: “I’m not happy with my home town hosting this as it goes against everything I stand for.”
Newcastle-based singer Gem Andrews, who released her debut last year, also took to Twitter to ask people to campaign against UKIP meeting on Tyneside.
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has disowned proposals from one of his MEPs for Muslims to be asked to sign a charter rejecting violence.
Gerard Batten, who sits on the party’s National Executive Committee, said he stood by the “charter of Muslim understanding” which he co-authored in 2006 and which states that parts of the Koran which promote “violent physical jihad” should be regarded as “inapplicable, invalid and non-Islamic”.
His comments sparked criticism from Muslim groups and UKIP’s political opponents.
The Conservative leader in the European Parliament, Syed Kamall, who is himself a Muslim, left a letter on Mr Batten’s empty seat at the Parliament chamber in Strasbourg, sarcastically offering him a guarantee that he had no intention to commit acts of violence.
Mr Farage said: “This was a private publication from Gerard Batten in 2006 and its contents are not and never have been UKIP policy.”
> Fruitcakes, the whole lot of them…
Source – Newcastle Journal 06 Feb 2014