Tagged: Ronnie Campbell

Some NE Labour support for Jeremy Corbyn

Labour’s Easington representative, Grahame Morris, and Blyth Valley’s Ronnie Campbell, were backing Andy Burnham in the Labour leadership race, but this week ditched him in favour of Jeremy Corbyn.

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, who is one of the last in the region to reveal her nomination, has also announced her support for Mr Corbyn.

The leadership race has so far seen Andy Burnham take the pole position with 53 nominations from MPs, with Yvette Cooper on 46, Liz Kendall on 37, Mary Creagh on seven, and Jeremy Corbyn on 13.

Mr Corbyn, 66, has a track record of rebellion against the Labour party, regularly defying the whip. In January he was among a number of MPs who wrote an open letter to Ed Miliband calling on the party to oppose further austerity.

Ronnie Campbell, who has represented Blyth Valley for Labour since 1987, said: “I’m making a point and Grahame is doing the same and the point is that there are still socialists.

Full story :  http://northstar.boards.net/thread/91/ne-labour-support-jeremy-corbyn

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Northumberland Greens launch their election battle

Campaigners hoping to turn Northumberland in a Green Party powerbase defied dreary weather to officially launch their election battle.

Natalie Bennett’s party will fight all four Northumberland constituencies at the General Election next month, placing energy, anti-austerity, public services and transport at the heart of their strategy.

Taking shelter under bright green umbrellas, the candidates chose Druridge Bay Visitor Centre, near Amble, for the event, close to the site of a planned opencast mine, which the Greens are petitioning against amid fears it will damage the environment.

The party’s candidate for Hexham and chairman of the Northumberland Greens Lee Williscroft-Ferris, said:

“Today has been a huge success.

“Despite the poor weather, many Green Party members from across the four Northumberland constituencies have come to Druridge Bay to show their support as their candidates officially launch their general election campaigns.

“Although we are each fighting hard in our own areas, we share similar concerns. These include an urgent need to improve public transport and protect our public services, as well as a mutual objective of fighting against the unsafe exploitation of our natural resources through fracking, open cast mining and underground coal gasification.

“We offer a people and planet-focussed alternative to ‘business as usual’ politics and to the narrative of austerity – the number of people here today proves that there is a genuine appetite for a positive, Green vision of hope here in Northumberland.”

It comes as the Greens celebrate being the third-largest party, in terms of membership, in England as the party enjoys unprecedented exposure in the TV leaders’ debates.

While the Greens are not anticipating victory in Northumberland a surge of support for them could make a decisive difference in the key marginal of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Following the retirement of long-serving Lib Dem MP Sir Alan Beith, Conservative Anne-Marie Trevelyan is neck-and-neck with Lib Dem Julie Porksen, but the Greens’ candidate Rachael Roberts is holding her own.

Dawn Furness is taking on Labour’s Ronnie Campbell – who polled a 6,668 majority in 2010 – in the Blyth Valley constituency while Chris Hedley also faces a tough opponent in Wansbeck where Ian Lavery will stand for Ed Miliband’s party.

The Save Druridge campaign has a petition, which can be found online: http://www.savedruridge.co.uk

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 13 Apr 2015

UKIP to target Blyth but sitting MP calls their campaign ‘ageist’

UKIP’s deputy leader has confirmed the party is targeting Northumberland’s Blyth Valley seat.

Nigel Farage’s second-in-command, Paul Nuttall MEP, was in the coastal constituency for the second time in a matter of weeks and said the seat – which is widely regarded as safe Labour territory – is a target for Ukip, while neighbouring Wansbeck was also “of great interest”.

Sitting Blyth MP Ronnie Campbell’s majority has dropped to 6,668 in 2010 from 17,736 in 2001.

The 71-year-old – who is for having a referendum on membership of the European Union – said Ukip was running an “ageist” campaign.

He added this election will be the last time he stands but he was nonetheless confident of a Labour victory.

It comes three months after Ukip opened its North East headquarters off Blyth high street, just a stone’s throw away from Mr Campbell’s office.

“Demographically, it is perfect for Ukip if you look at the people who came over to us at the recent election,” said Paul Nuttall, who is an MEP in the North West.

“We are investing in the constituency and building for the future.

“We are going to put in a very good performance – but it isn’t just about the short-term political gain, this is a long-term target seat.

“With Hartlepool, Blyth sticks out and we did very well in the South Shields by-election too, remember.”

Ukip has remained tight-lipped about its target seats but the MEP could not deny Blyth is now ranked among them.

He could not cite any polling data which says Blyth voters are shunning Labour but confirmed the party will be throwing resources at the campaign there.

“The reports that we hear are very positive, as are the ones we get from Wansbeck,” said Mr Nuttall.

“I’m not going to deny that we are parking our tanks on Labour’s lawn in Blyth. Barry Elliott is a great candidate and he has a good team around him.”

 

Mr Campbell said:
“This will be my last election. I will fight this but then no more. After that, I will retire.

“Ukip has nothing to offer Blyth. We do not have a problem with immigration at all.

“Ukip has talked about being a target for a while. In the North East for them, it is Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, South Shields and us.

“I don’t know why they are targeting me. We are canvassing every day, I was out knocking on doors this morning. I hear that they tell people that I’m too old and that I should retire.

“I have a few years left in me yet. People don’t like ageism. Ageism is just as bad as racism.

“If they can manage to turn over my 6,668 majority then I haven’t done my job for the people of Blyth.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 21 Mar 2015

Blyth MP says North East has ‘unfair deal’ after missing out on emergency social care funding

A North East MP has accused Government ministers of ignoring the region’s “first class” healthcare when dishing out emergency cash awards.

This week, Westminster approved a £25m injection into social care for older people in areas where hospitals are facing the biggest problems over delayed patient discharges.

But of the 65 local authorities in England to receive the money, which must be spent by the end of March to ease pressure on wards by moving patients into care in the community, none are in the North East.

Ronnie Campbell, Labour member for Blyth Valley, claims the funding is “almost all southern based where local authorities haven’t been on the receiving end of same level of ConDem cuts as Northern authorities” which have still managed to provide “a first class service”.

And he accused the Government of bailing out councils who are failing to organise their discharges from hospitals properly, while not rewarding Northumberland, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland, Durham and Newcastle councils who are facing up to the challenges.

He explained:

“I’m very worried that local authorities like Northumberland are having their budgets hacked to bits and yet they’re coping with the transfer from NHS care to local authority care.

“They’re under enormous pressure to deliver other services to the general public yet Eric Pickles and Jeremy Hunt are rewarding councils which happen to have marginal constituencies in them. 

“This doesn’t seem to be the ‘fair deal for Northumberland’ local Tories are trumpeting – in fact, this ranks up there with the 20% cut to transport funding and £3m further cuts to the council budget as an example of how the ConDems are targeting the North for purely party political reasons.”

The Department of Health emergency fund was authorised by a special ministerial committee, which has met weekly to help the NHS cope with winter pressures.

According to NHS England, one in five hospital beds was occupied over the Christmas period by someone ready for discharge but unable to move on because of blockages in the system. About a third of these blockages were attributed to lack of social care services.

The average cash boost for each of the 65 councils is £380,000, with money to be spent on extra support for people in their homes and short-term places in residential homes.

Responding to Mr Campbell, Coun Peter Jackson, Tory leader on Northumberland County Council, said:

“The truth is that this Government has fully protected NHS funding from day one.

“Rather than acknowledge this or the indication that our local health care services are performing much better than others across the country, Labour are once again resorting to scaremongering tactics and displaying financial illiteracy.

“Mr Campbell appears to be deliberately misleading the public by confusing local government and health care funding.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Department of Health added:

“We planned for winter earlier than ever this year. We constantly review what additional measures we can take to ease the pressure on services.

“In preparation for the Better Care Fund, the NHS and local authorities are already preparing joint plans to work together better, keep people well and avoid hospital admissions. This money helps speed up that work for this winter.”

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 23 Jan 2015

Northumberland is dying on its feet

A stark warning has been issued about the future of Northumberland, which has been described as a political no man’s land that is dying on its feet.

It was delivered by the Labour MP for Wansbeck, Ian Lavery, after official figures revealed it to be one of the worst-performing economic areas in the whole of Britain.

Its perilous state was shown in the ‘gross value-added’ (GVA) statistics for 2013, which detail the value of wages and profits from goods and services produced.

For Northumberland, the figure is just £13,481 per head of population, the fifth worst in Britain, and dwarfed by the highest figure of £135,888 in inner London west.

Mr Lavery said at the root of the worrying figures was the fact that traditional heavy industries like mining have never been properly replaced, while the county struggles to compete with Scotland, which gets much more Government financial help.

“We have some great small businesses here but they are not on the same scale as mining,” he said.

“We’re a political no-man’s land. I really fear for the future. People need to be encouraged to invest here and it should be made a special case. It’s dying on its feet.”

His comments were echoed by fellow Northumberland MP Blyth Valley’s Ronnie Campbell, who said the figures showed how the county had been abandoned by successive governments of all colours.

“To put it right we need to be made a special case,” he said.

“We don’t want to be a basket case. They have to come up with a new Barnett formula which benefits this region.”

There had been talk of scrapping the Barnett formula, a local authority funding mechanism which favoured Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland when drawn up 34 years ago to provide a boost to economies there, which were then struggling.

However, in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum, in what was seen as an attempt to ensure a ‘No’ vote victory, all three major parties vowed to continue it.

Mr Campbell said as a result of the extra cash, Scotland can offer more inducements to new companies to invest there.

It’s only 50 miles up the road. When the Barnett formula was drawn up, it was done to help Scotland, which was struggling. Now it isn’t and we are, it should be redrawn to help us.”

North East Chamber of Commerce Policy and Research Manager Mark Stephenson said:

For many years we have campaigned about the lack of fairness of the Barnett formula, which seems to be having an increasingly negative impact on the GVA figures.

“Northumberland has many excellent businesses and a thriving tourism offer, but it is one of the counties that has been adversely impacted by the public sector cuts.”

Meanwhile Mr Lavery said: “When people talk about the North East they think of what Newcastle and Sunderland are getting, they think of Nissan and the Tyne and Wear Metro.

“But Northumberland is a million miles away from this.

“The best thing about this county is the resilience of its people.

“They will deliver if given the opportunity; they just need equal opportunities.”

Across the region the GVA per head stands at £17,381, compared with £40,215 in London. Only Wales, at £16,893, and Northern Ireland, at £17,948, have lower figures.

Tyneside performs best in the North East, with a GVA per head of £20,514, although this is still some way below the UK average of £23,294.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  12 Dec 2014

Northumberland prison is a ‘powder keg’ according to MPs

> Another success story for privatisation….

The prison service is “a powder keg” and it’s only a matter of time before staff are seriously hurt, an MP has warned.

Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck, urged Ministers to act over a dramatic increase in assaults on prison officer staff.

And speaking in the House of Commons, he highlighted staff cuts at HMP Northumberland, which was transferred to private management 12 months ago.

Sodexo Justice Services now runs the prison after winning a 15-year contract worth an estimated £250 million.

It comes after a number of MPs raised concerns about working conditions in the nation’s prisons.

Work commissioned by the Prison Officers’ Association and conducted by academics warned of high levels of stress among prison staff, and found 65 per cent of prison officers often thought about quitting the job.

A Commons motion warning MPs are “deeply concerned at the findings of the report” was signed by Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell and North Tyneside MP Mary Glindon as well as Mr Lavery.

The MPs urged the Government “to conduct an urgent inquiry into the prison system and the terms and conditions of those trying to professionally carry out an important public service under the most difficult of circumstances”.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Lavery said:

“The Prison Service is not only in crisis, but is a powder keg.

“Somebody must be held accountable because someone, somewhere will be seriously hurt in the Prison Service.

“Nine members of staff are assaulted daily, which means 3,400 a year, up 9.4 per cent.

“More dramatically, serious assaults on staff have increased by 36% since 2010.”

He highlighted the situation at HMP Northumberland, where around 50 inmates took over a wing in riots in March.

He asked Justice Minister Andrew Selous: “Does the Minister share my concerns about the situation at HMP Northumberland, which is in my area?

“When that prison was privatised, Sodexo immediately reduced the work force by a third, yet the prison population has been increasing.

“Have not prison officers who are left to carry out the work every right to be stressed? What will the Minister do about it?”

The Minister told the Commons:

“Those who manage contracted prisons absolutely have a duty to make sure that they keep their staff as well.”

The Government was taking action to protect prison officers, he said.

“We are working towards a new protocol for escalating matters when prison staff are victims of assault to the  which rightly recognises the seriousness of these incidents.”

“The evidence that the Prison Service continues to provide a rewarding career in which staff are able to change lives is irrefutable.

“It is demonstrated in the commitment and tenacity that prison officers have shown in recent months in the difficult circumstances that I have described.

“It is also evident in the organisation’s ability to attract 1,700 new prison officer recruits.”

Sodexo Justice Services operates one prison in Scotland and three in England.

It is part of the French multinational Sodexo Group, which provides services including catering, cleaning and security.

The first jail to be transferred from public to private operation was HMP Birmingham, which is run by G4S.

Fourteen other prisons in England and Wales have been privately managed since they were opened.

Liberal Democrat MP Sir Alan Beith has also expressed concern about staff cuts introduced by Sodexo at HMP Northumberland.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  11 Dec 2014

Council cuts driving rise in child adoption says Blyth MP

Saving councils cash is driving a rise in fast-track child adoptions in the North, an MP has claimed.

The British Association of Social Workers has launched an inquiry into why adoption in the North East has shot up by 26% in the last year after Blyth MP Ronnie Campbell highlighted concerns about the issue.

He believes dwindling numbers of under-pressure social workers are spending less time trying to keep families together and that councils, navigating central Government cuts, are pushing adoptions.

It comes as the Department for Education revealed the number of adoptions increased to 390 in 2013/14 from 290 the previous year.

Local authorities say they are doing all they can to keep parents and their children in a unit, and any claim adoption was used as a money-saving measure is “completely wrong”.

Mr Campbell said:

“I think it is about money at the end of the day. It is cheaper to adopt than it is to foster a child.

“We should be helping parents to get back on the straight and narrow.

“I have seen parents who have turned themselves around.

“Because of all the cuts, social services don’t seem to be there to help anymore. I don’t see why adoption has to be the be all and end all.”

He added social workers may also be afraid to manage intervention in the wake of some high profile cases, such as the failure of Haringey Children’s Services in the lead up to the death of 17-month-old Peter Connelly, who suffered appalling abuse at home.

Mr Campbell said:

“With Baby P and everything that came out, I think our social workers are frightened of their own job.

“Adoption is the easy option and it doesn’t cost the council anything. If you foster a child it is costing rate payers £500 a week. Why can we not try and keep the family together and help the mothers to bring themselves round.”

Bridget Robb, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, said quick decisions were being made to get children out of the public care system.

She said:

“Due to the impact of austerity, many services which have been around in local communities to support children and their birth families are no longer around as they have closed due to lack of money. This makes it harder to provide the help those families need to stay together.

“Our current UK adoption legislation enables children to be adopted without the consent of their parents. This aspect of the legislation is being increasingly used to speed up the adoption process. While there are extreme circumstances where this may be necessary, its widespread use is causing us real concern as a profession.”

In Gateshead the number of looked after children adopted leapt from 15 in 2013 to 35, while there was an increase of 25 looked after children adopted in Newcastle to hit 60 in 2014.

In County Durham, adoptions shot up to 75 from 40, while in Middlesbrough, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland the figures remained the same.

In Darlington, the number of adoptions doubled from 10 to 20, while the number rose by five to 15 in both Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland. In Stockton-on-Tees, the number rose by ten to 30.

Councils stressed adoption was a last resort and had to be agreed by a court.

A Newcastle City Council spokesman admitted all services were coming under pressure, but said:

“It is totally wrong and misinformed to suggest that adoption is in some way a replacement for adequate social care support to families. Adoption is a way to provide a loving family home for children who cannot be cared for by their natural parents for a whole host of reasons. For many of these children the alternative would be a childhood spent in local authority care. Newcastle City Council is proud of the fact that it is giving more children the best possible start in life by increasing the numbers of adoptions, and this is something we will continue to try to do.

“At the same time, through the Newcastle Families Programme, the council is working with a range of partners in the city to provide intensive support to families who find themselves in trouble, providing the help and challenge they need to turn their lives around. The programme is one of the most successful in the country – helping around 300 families a year to overcome difficulties and get back on the right track.

“Government cuts and rising costs are forcing councils to make difficult decisions about services. Newcastle City Council has ensured that service to vulnerable people have been prioritised to avoid the deepest cuts, but it is true that these services are coming under increasing pressure.”

Karen Robb, strategic manager, looked after children and permanence at Durham County Council, said:

“We will always work with families to see if the children can remain with their parents or another family member. Where this is not possible children are only adopted after we have received a mandate from the courts where they are satisfied that there is no possibility of the birth parents or extended families being able to provide satisfactory care.

“We actively ensure that children who cannot live within their own families are placed permanently with their new families as quickly as possible.”

Councillor Angela Douglas, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Gateshead added:

We are committed to achieving the best outcomes for our children and young people and we know that for some children the best way to achieve this is through providing new forever families.

“Placing a child with adoptive parents only ever happens if it is felt by everyone that this would be in the best interests of that child. No other factors are involved in that decision.

“To suggest that adoption is taking place as a money-saving measure – and that the specific needs of that child are therefore being ignored – is completely wrong.”

Newcastle MP Catherine McKinnell said:

“There’s no doubt that the number of children in care in the region has risen over recent years, with over 500 children in the care of Newcastle Council alone.

“This comes at a huge cost not just to the local authority and society at large, but also to the children themselves as those who’ve grown up in care have historically had significantly worse outcomes.

“Clearly, it’s vital for local authorities and other organisations to provide early intervention services to support troubled families, in order to prevent family breakdowns and children being taken into care in the first place.

“But for those children already in care, I support moves to help them find permanent, secure, loving and stable families, and an increase in adoption rates – where it is appropriate for each individual child – is a positive step.”

Source – Sunday Sun,  16 Nov 2014

North East Labour MPs back firefighters in pensions dispute

MPs have spoken out to back firefighters, following a four-day strike over pensions.

Labour MPs from the North East urged Ministers to negotiate with firefighters.

And Ronnie Campbell, Labour MP for Blyth Valley, hit out at plans to make firefighters work until they are 60 before they can receive their pension.

Currently, firefighters can retire at 55 but plans to make them work another five years are one of the contentious issues that have led to the strike.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Campbell said:

“I worked down the coal mine for 29 years, and I watched old men of 60 struggling at the coal face. What must it be like for firemen of 60 trying to save lives from fire and flood?”

He was answered by local government minister Penny Mordaunt, who said:

We need older workers to stay in the fire service because they have great expertise. By offering protections on pensions and jobs for older workers and good practice for fire authorities to follow, we will ensure that in future they have the protections that Labour did not introduce.”

> Sounds like “we need to keep on older workers because we can’t be arsed to train younger ones.” ?

The last Labour government raised the retirement age to 60 for people becoming firefighters after April 2006. The Government’s plans would increase the retirement age for every serving firefighter, including those who expected to retire at 55.

Other changes include changing the way pensions are calculated, which effectively means people will receive less, and increasing contributions.

Fire Brigades Union members began a four-day strike at the start of the end of October .

North West Durham MP Pat Glass asked:

“We have just come through the longest firefighters’ strike in 38 years. When will the Government stop their politically motivated and disingenuous behaviour in this dispute and genuinely sit down with the Fire Brigades Union to settle this, as the Governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are doing?”

Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell asked the Minister:

“Why does not she treat them with the respect that they deserve?”

And Stockton South MP Alex Cunningham highlighted a letter from Mrs Mordaunt to a Labour MP in which she said:

“I am conscious that we will only have the ideas for the service to meet future challenges and aspirations if firefighters are engaged and feel an ownership for the service. Trust and good morale are key to this.”

He asked her:

“How does refusing to change a single word of the regulation improve morale, and how does refusing to negotiate improve trust?”

The Minister insisted that firefighters received “one of the best schemes in the public sector”.

She said:

“There has been extensive debate and consultation on these matters. I have dealt with any outstanding issues in the past few months, including those of the transition of armed forces pension schemes into the firefighters’ pension scheme and fitness protections.

“The regulations have now been laid, and it is evident from the questions coming from the Opposition that they do not understand the scheme. It is an excellent scheme, and to say otherwise would be to do firefighters a disservice.”

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  12 Nov 2014

Pulling out of the European Court of Human Rights is a “sop to UKIP and right wingers” say NE politicians

Tory plans to pull out of the European Court of Human Rights have been dismissed as a backward step and “a sop to Ukip and right wingers” by North East politicians.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling believes the extraordinary move would restore “common sense” to the British legal system, allowing judges in this country to effectively ignore Strasbourg.

The extraordinary move would give the ECHR no move than an advisory role and hand politicians and judges final say on issues like prisoner voting and life sentences. Mr Grayling also said it would stop terrorists and foreign criminals relying on human rights laws to stay in the UK.

But Labour peer Jeremy Beecham accused the Justice Secretary of pandering to the right wing.

He said: “This is a sop to Ukip and Tory right wingers.

“It was a Conservative Government which led the way on the EHRC, but the present Tory Party has a shocking record on legal aid, access to justice and judicial review and this just another example of its attitude, ironically in what will be the 800th anniversary year of Magna Carta.”

Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The Human Rights Act benefits ordinary people on a daily basis and can help victims of crime.

“Recently it allowed two young women, who were victims of the black cab rapist John Worboys, to sue the police for failing to investigate his appalling crimes properly.”

She added human rights law was widely misrepresented in parts of the media and called on Chris Grayling to re-think the plans.

She said: “For instance in 2006 it was reported that police gave fried chicken to a suspected car thief who had fled from police and was besieged on a roof ‘because of his human rights’.

“Surprise, surprise, there is no human right to KFC – it was used as part of the negotiating tactics that encouraged him to come down.

“Nor is there a bar to deporting a criminal because he has a British cat, as Theresa May once claimed.

“Whether a foreign criminal stays or goes is a balancing act, which is far better done in our courts than in Strasbourg.”

But Labour’s Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell believes the country should be given a choice on its relationship with Europe.

He said: “On the whole it’s good to have a Court of Human Rights as they have made some good decisions, but I haven’t agreed with them all.

“Although I haven’t agreed with all the decisions made by the judicial system, I still think we should let the people decide, not the politicians, and have a referendum.”

Chris Grayling made the announcement as the Conservative Party Conference drew to a close this week and as the campaign for next year’s General Election gets underway.

He said: “We will always stand against real human rights abuses, and political persecution. But these plans will make sure that we put Britain first and restore common sense to human rights in this country.”

>  Translation – lets make Britain a feudal state where people like me who went to the right schools get to make the law that suits our best interests. Fuck anyone else.

Source –  Newcastle Journal,  03 Oct 2014

Blyth could be UKIP’s next target

Blyth could be the next target for UKIP in their mission to conquer Labour heartlands.

Strategists for Nigel Farage’s party have announced they are to open an office in Blyth town centre as they predict a huge swing toward UKIP in the 2015 General Election.

But if they are looking for a parliamentary seat they will have a fight on their hands from Blyth’s Labour MP Ronnie Campbell.

And Mr Campbell said he would never be tempted to switch allegiances to the party – despite numbering among the MPs who asked Labour for a referendum on Europe earlier this year.

He said: “I am Labour through and through, just like a stick of Blackpool rock. I will die Labour.”

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott said his party would rise as the main challengers to Labour in May and could capture a number of North East seats in 2020.

He added the party planned to open an office in Blyth “just off the high street”.

He said: “I think it is objective to say that the Labour party has been complacent in the North East.

“So what will UKIP do? We will see a number of seats in which UKIP will become the main challenger to Labour moving forward.

“I would be very optimistic about the prospect of taking several seats in the election in 2020 in those seats where we have seen UKIP move into second place.

“In terms of winning seats in the North East [in 2015], I would say there are places where we have a chance: Hartlepool, for example; we are clearly already in second place in Redcar; South Shields where we have just taken a council seat; Blyth.

> It should be noted though, that in the council elections earlier this year UKIP lost one of the two seats they had on South Tyneside Council (the surviving one wasn’t up for re-election). Across the rest of Tyne & Wear, UKIP won a grand total of 0 seats. Their challenge back in May therefore amounted to them losing 50% of what they started with. Difficult to spin that as a triumph…

“All of those are areas where I think that if we have the right campaign and things go right in terms of the media and nationally then they will come into place next year.”

He added: “I would love to see a poll in Blyth, I have a gut instinct we will do well there.

“Obviously we have not released our target seats yet but if I had to make a prediction as to where we would target in the North East my prediction would be Hartlepool.”

> Actually, UKIP have already gone on record as targetting Hartlepool. Pay attention Mr Arnott !

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 03 Oct 2014