Jane Collins MEP opposes Tory police cuts in West Yorkshire

Portrait photograph of Jane Collins MEPUKIP’s Home Affairs Spokeswoman, Jane Collins MEP, has called for an “end to police cuts” and a more “visible and effective police presence”, as new research reveals West Yorkshire now has the highest rate of serious crime per head in England and Wales.

Commenting on the findings from her Yorkshire constituency, Ms Collins blasted the Government for continuing cuts to police budgets saying, “while I am shocked at these findings, it comes as no surprise given that West Yorkshire Constabulary have lost 1,200 officers over the course of the last five years due to cuts.”

Ms Collins continued, “While overall crime may be statistically lower than other places, serious crime in West Yorkshire is on the rise according to the ONS’ newly introduced ‘crime severity scores.’ The average score nationally is 10.1, while West Yorkshire has the dubious record of reaching 13.6!

“While the change in the way statistics are collected and reported explains some of the rise, I believe that we are seeing a more accurate picture of what people living in the county have known for a long time – less police equals a rise in criminal behaviour!

“In a county as big and diverse as Yorkshire, we simple must have a visible and effective police presence to actively tackle the rising incidences of serious crime if we are to tackling these shocking finding.”

“There are also areas in Yorkshire that suffer from great deprivation in the post-industrial and mining age, and it is the job of politicians to put in place long terms plans to tackle social inequalities, raise standards and provide better opportunities.”

“Without a serious rethink of how we distribute resources and tackle social depravation in this county, little will change and the problems are likely to get even worse.

“You only have to look at the burglary figures in the West Yorkshire Constabulary area to see that the police are struggling to cope with the rise in crime. Of 74,350 burglaries reported, only 4,475 incidents led to a charge or summons.

“These figures are outrageous and I call on the government to think again when it comes to further cuts to police budgets. I would also like to see them pledge to make serious inroads towards tackling the many social issues that blight our towns and cities.”

Brabin held to account over radio remarks

Portrait photograph of Aleks LukicDear Tracy Brabin,

As a Batley and Spen resident, I am writing with concerns about your recent appearance on Radio IMWS.

Firstly, you claimed that the report on the Iraq War ‘specifically, unequivocally says Tony Blair did not lie to Parliament.’ This is not true at all. The report did not say whether Blair lied or not, but it did say that there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein when we invaded Iraq.

You then said ‘we cannot also forget that he did bring three Labour governments.’ Why would you try to defend Blair at all, let alone in this way? Nothing else he did can compare to the devastation in Iraq.

You next went on to say ‘More than ever we need the country to see that actually the Labour Party’s getting back on its feet. It’s getting back united. It’s fighting against Brexit.’

Most people across all communities in Batley and Spen voted to leave the EU, as you will know. So why do you want to fight against our wishes? Why would we accept that?

You were later asked how you would hold Kirklees Council to account over inadequate children’s services. Your response was that, although you were disappointed, ‘it’s really hard for our Labour council because the cuts are from the Government and we in the North are paying the price for it.’

It is wrong to blame others for the serious failures which Ofsted found at the council. In light of this, how can residents trust you to challenge the council and make sure vulnerable children are looked after properly?

I was then appalled by your response to a question about the far-right. You said ‘Paul Nuttall likes to think that UKIP is going to stride the nation, and we’re all going to be Ukippers and have those attitudes.’

You might not know that I am a teacher employed in a local school. If you would suggest that I have far-right attitudes, then that could cause real problems for my livelihood. I can only be glad that most people do not seem to agree with you about UKIP and its 4 million supporters. But still, will you admit your mistake and issue a public apology to prevent any possible issues for me at work?

For all our sakes in Batley and Spen, I hope you realise that what you are saying is not going to win people over. 78% of us did not support you in your by-election.

I haven’t even mentioned your comments on local segregated communities. I could write another whole letter about that!

Yours sincerely,

Aleks Lukic
Chairman, UKIP Dewsbury, Batley and Spen

Portrait photograph of Tracy Brabin MPDear Aleks Lukic,

Thank you for your email, I appreciate that you extended the courtesy of giving me prior warning of your intention to send your letter to local press. I hope you understand I will do the same with this response.

You bring up a number points, let me respond to each on an individual basis.

Brexit – let me be absolutely clear, I heard the voice of the country and people of Batley and Spen in last summer’s referendum loud and clear – we are leaving the European Union.

I may have misspoke in the interview but my position and voting record hasn’t changed.

I’m determined to get the best possible deal for Batley and Spen in the Brexit negotiations and I will use my position as your MP to do so. As I’m on record as saying, I do not wish the hinder or delay the submission of Article 50 in any way, as evidence of this, I have already voted in the House of Commons on a motion which called on the Government to submit Article 50 ‘no later than March 31, 2017’.

Tony Blair – The three successive Labour Governments did an enormous amount of good for our community. Under Labour we saw record investment in schools, brought class sizes down, record results in our schools, introduced the Winter Fuel Allowance, the creation of Sure Start, half a million children out of poverty, peace in Northern Ireland, hospital waiting times at a record low and the cluster bomb banned.

Contrast that with the situation today, Sure Start centre closures, food bank queues growing, in work poverty on the up, child poverty rising again and vital NHS services under threat. While I need no lessons on the Iraq War, indeed I left the Labour Party for a time because of it, I refuse to hide away from my belief that Labour Governments are much better for Batley and Spen than Conservative ones.

Children’s services – I’m not sure if you had the opportunity to listen to the interview in full as I didn’t blame Government cuts for the Ofsted inspection result. What I said was the report was very disappointing, I’d spoken to Council Leader David Sheard, a senior official at the council and that it was a small mercy was that no child had been put in harm’s way.

Thankfully new procedures have been put in place by Kirklees Council and I know you’ll join me in wishing everyone involved well as the current situation simply isn’t acceptable.

On the other hand it is undoubtedly true that unprecedented cuts to local government budgets have made delivering top quality services much more difficult.

UKIP – firstly, let me say, of course I do not wish to see you lose your job, and I hope you know my comments were in no way intended to do so. If they do cause any problems with your employer, please let me know and I’ll send an urgent clarification. Yes, the question I was asked referenced the term ‘far right’ but it also mentioned Angela Merkel.

Merkel is one of the most high profile and successful politicians in the world, that’s why in my entire answer I referenced other ‘main stream’ political parties and politicians, Marine Le Pen in France, Norbert Hofer in Austria and your party, UKIP.

I fully respect the decision thousands in Batley and Spen made to vote for UKIP at the last general election, but I won’t shy away from highlighting stances I don’t agree with, the party’s thirst to further privatise the NHS which has time and time again resulted in poorer services or cutting taxes for the richest which means less into the Government coffers and less to areas like our community.

Despite our differences, I hope we can do our politics by open debate, discussion and in a respectful way.

I appreciate you took the time to email me on this matter, I’m sure Radio IMWS are pleased to hear you are a listener and I look forward to continuing our discussions soon.

Kind regards,

Tracy Brabin MP

Portrait photograph of Aleks LukicDear Tracy Brabin,

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. Just so you know, I did watch the full interview before writing. I stand by the impression your words gave me and many others in Batley and Spen, but your response has started to move things in a better direction.

I will briefly point out that you still appear to be mistaken about UKIP on a number of issues. Last year I stood for UKIP on a platform of ending Labour’s private finance deals in the NHS, which have led to disaster for Dewsbury and District Hospital. UKIP also wants to protect the NHS by cracking down on health tourism, and ensuring new migrants have their own insurance until they have paid UK tax for five years. Labour will never tackle these issues.

We will not agree on many things, but like you I prefer to deal with issues by having a fair, honest conversation.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours,

Aleks Lukic
Chairman, UKIP Dewsbury, Batley and Spen

Response to Paula Sherriff’s comments on Article 50

After applying pressure on Paula Sherriff MP to confirm her position on triggering Article 50, she made the following statement on Facebook:

Even though I voted to remain in the EU, I accept and respect the result of the referendum and I will not seek to subvert the will of the people. I absolutely believe in democracy and I will not block a vote to trigger article 50.

I also believe that it is right to fight for the best possible Brexit deal. The Tory Government do not have a blank cheque to negotiate a deal that puts jobs, workers’ rights and our economy at risk.

It is only right that MPs are given the opportunity to hold Ministers to account on the decisions they now make which will have profound consequences over decades to come.

I was not fully satisfied by this response as it left the door open for Sherriff to abstain on a vote, rather than fully uphold the referendum result. However, to her credit, she did quickly clarify her position when challenged:

Facebook conversation as follows. Aleks Lukic: Sorry but a commitment to 'not block' Article 50 is not the same as a commitment to approve triggering Article 50. Will you confirm that you will not abstain, and will actually vote to approve Article 50? Paula Sherriff MP: I will vote to trigger Article 50. Aleks Lukic: Thank you for your prompt response Paula, I will update our website.

We will continue to keep a watchful eye on Paula Sherriff’s stance on Brexit and hold her to account if we feel she is not upholding our area’s decision in full.

Letter from the Chairman to Paula Sherriff MP and Tracy Brabin MP

Dear Paula Sherriff and Tracy Brabin,

If you click the link at the bottom of this email, you will see that you feature in a prominent position on our local UKIP website over whether you will vote to approve Article 50.

Now it has been ruled this requires the approval of Parliament, I would appreciate you letting me know unequivocally whether you will uphold the local referendum result.

It would also be helpful to know whether you will publicly support leaving the single market so that we can end the freedom of movement between the UK and EU member states, redirect the billions we currently send to the EU every year into our stretched public services, and unlock domestic commerce from unfavourable EU regulations.

I will be happy to publish your full response on the website.

Kind regards,

Aleks Lukic
Chairman, UKIP Dewsbury, Batley & Spen

(link to our home page)

Election of our next Party Leader

Thank You Nigel. Won the European Elections. Four Million Votes at 2015 GE. Established UKIP as the third party in the UK. EU Referendum secured. Seven Welsh Assembly Members. Two London Assembly Members. EU referendum won.
Members and supporters might be interested to hear more from the nominated candidates by clicking the links below:

Batley and Spen by-election

Jo Cox and Aleks Lukic at the declaration of her election in May 2015Polling cards have started to be delivered for the Batley and Spen by-election, which will be held on Thursday 20th October.

As the local branch of UKIP we would like to confirm that we will not be standing a candidate on this occasion, in respect to Jo Cox.

We will not endorse or comment on any particular candidate in the by-election and would encourage our members and supporters to vote with their own conscience.

Honorary President David Daniel dies aged 75

Portrait photograph of David DanielWe are deeply saddened to pass on news that David Daniel, former Dewsbury Borough councillor and the last Chairman of West Yorkshire County Council, died on Saturday 17th September.

In UKIP, at the time of his passing, David was the Vice Chairman of the Leeds branch and Honorary President of our branch. He had been the Chairman of the Leeds branch previously and had stood for the party on a number of occasions, including the 2010 General Election against Ed Balls in Morley and Outwood.

I personally found that David was proudly forthright in his views and I particularly enjoyed listening to him recount tales from UKIP’s earlier days.

You can read more about David and the arrangements for his funeral here.

Support Jonathan Hanson in the Shepley by-election!

Jonathan Hanson in Shepley

Next Thursday, the 11th August, voters in the village of Shepley go to the polls to elect a new representative on Kirkburton Parish Council.

UKIP is putting forward its first candidate for the parish. Jonathan Hanson is eager to make life for residents easier and has already made a great impression in the village.

Jonathan is involved with the NHS on interview panels for the hiring of clinicians. A keen problem solver, he also builds computers and participates in his local church pop choir.

We wish Jonathan the very best of luck and hope everyone in Shepley will give him their backing!

Promoted on behalf of Jonathan Hanson, at 139 Church Road, Hartshead WF15 8BE.

Kirklees Council fails to meet legal deadline

Kirklees Council Logo

About a month ago, reports emerged of a proposed new link road cutting through North Kirklees between the M62 at Junction 25 and the M1 at Junction 39.

Like others, I was surprised to hear about this as no mention was made of these plans in the Kirklees Labour group’s manifesto for the local elections.

I immediately put in a request under the Freedom of Information Act for all correspondence, minutes, maps and any other information relating to the project.

The council has failed to provide a response so far. It is bound to respond within 20 working days of the request. That deadline passed yesterday and now the council is in breach of the law.

This is very disappointing considering the road would be the most significant public infrastructure project in the district in decades, affecting several towns and villages.

I have demanded an internal review into the handling of my request and do not expect Kirklees Council to keep us all waiting much longer!

UKIP Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire MEPs: “Farage took Brexit from theory to reality.”

Portrait photograph of Nigel Farage MEPUKIP’s Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire MEPs, Jane Collins and Mike Hookem have praised the work of Nigel Farage following his resignation, saying, “his vision has brought independence back to the British people.”

Ms Collins and Mr Hookem – both senior party officials who work closely with Mr Farage – continued saying, “Nigel has achieved his goal and allowed the British people a voice once again.”

“Nigel Farage’s tenacity and belief in a Britain free of Brussels has contributed more to our democracy and the empowerment of the British people than any other political leader in the last 20 years.”

“Over the years, and through a constant hail of criticism and personal attack, Nigel Farage has taken the theory of Brexit from something which used to be debated in hushed tones, and made it into a political reality.”

“Nigel’s fight for British independence has not come without significant personal cost, including giving up his business, forgoing time with his young family, and even having to cope with threats to his safety.”

“In our opinion, he should be credited and celebrated as a man of deep principle, who tenaciously stuck by his principles when others would have given up, and for that alone, he deserves official recognition.”

“We both hope that Nigel remains actively involved in UKIP and British politics; shaping the UK’s future in the post-Brexit era, as we continue to build a strong independent Britain.”