Saturday 29 April 2017 – UKIP leader Paul Nuttall decides to stand in Lincolnshire and other General Election news

Paul Nuttall announces he will stand in the Lincolnshire constituency of Boston & Skegness

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After dithering over whether to stand in the 8 June election, UKIP’s leader Paul Nuttall has finally announced that he will stand in Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire. Other seats had been considered, including Heywood and Middleton or Hartlepool, but the Lincolnshire constituency won out. The seat is currently held by Conservative Matt Warman, who won the seat with a majority of 4,000. However, UKIP came second in the last election at the seat and the constituency recorded the highest Leave vote at the Brexit referendum last year with over 75% in favour of leaving the European Union. Clearly Paul Nuttall and UKIP feel Boston and Skegness is ripe for the picking at this General Election. UKIP intends to stand in “the vast majority of the country,” but has called on its local branches to avoid putting up a candidate if a constituency represented by a prominent Leave campaigner – whatever party they are from – if that candidate is in danger from a pro-Remain candidate.

 

Mr Nuttall said that his primary reason for deciding to stand was “to ensure there is no backsliding on Brexit,” describing it as his “mission.” Specifically, on standing in Lincolnshire, he said:

 

“It is a great honour and a privilege to stand for UKIP in Boston and Skegness.

 

“The constituency voted overwhelmingly for Leave inspired in part by the massive betrayal of our fishing industry by successive governments, something that today’s Conservative Party led by Theresa May looks set to repeat.”

Mr Nuttall has attempted on four occasions, including for Stoke-On-Trent Central at a by-election in February. It was during that by-election that his CV came into scrutiny along with his claim to have been at the Hillsborough Disaster and to have lost close friends at the disaster, something he has somewhat backtracked on since – now claiming he was there and knew people who died.  UKIP currently have no MPs in Parliament. In 2015 the former Conservative MP Douglas Carswell for Clacton switched to UKIP and won the seat at the General Election becoming UKIP’s only MP. However, early this year, he quit the party and has now announced that he won’t stand for re-election as an independent on 8 June. UKIP donor Aaron Banks had threatened to stand in Clacton but has since decided not to. The former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, now a MEP in Brussels, has also said he will not be standing in the General Election.


Tory MP stands down from re-election after homophobic comments to students

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Andrew Turner is the Conservative MP for Isle of Wight and was planning to stand for re-election on 8 June. That is until he was asked a question about homosexuality by a student  at a college in Newport. The student, Easther Poucher, had asked him about the the upcoming first-ever Isle of Wight Pride in July. Ms Poucher reported that he replied that he had been invited but wouldn’t be attending as he thought “homosexuality was wrong” and “dangerous to society.” Esther then left the room, leaving the audience – according to another student, Toby Sheard, in complete silence: “Everyone was shocked, no-one moved, it was complete silence, all of which he was unfazed by and carried on talking.” Mr Sheard also said that Andrew Turner later commented that his views were  “to do with religious opinion.”

 

Having religious belief that homosexuality is wrong is one thing – telling a group of young students that it is  “dangerous to society” is wrong and completely unacceptable for a Member of Parliament. A spokesman for Isle of Wight Pride commented that Mr Turner’s comments to a young audience were in themself dangerous: “Suicide rates amongst LGBT young people are still disproportionately high. Mr Turner did not know if anyone in the room was struggling with their sexuality or gender identity.” Meanwhile, Dave Stewart, the Conservative leader of Isle of Wight Council commented: “It is very disappointing to hear such comments from someone I know and it is a shame for him to end to his career in this way, but what he said was unacceptable,” while the local Labour Party called his remarks “contemptible bigotry” and the local Green Party said they were “abhorrent” and his position as MP was “completely untenable.”

 

Mr Turner may or not agree with the reaction to his comments, but he has accepted that his position was untenable. He has been an MP for sixteen years and had decided to stand for re-election again only ten days ago after recovering from a period of illness.  He took just five hours after Ms Poucher’s initial social media post to stand down. Seeing the writing on the wall, on the Facebook wall in this case, he said: “After 16 years I have come to the decision that it is time for a new generation to take up the mantle of representing my fantastic constituents.” His standing down shows two things to me: 1. the power of social media to disseminate information and to hold MPs to account; and 2. How stupid was Andrew Turner to think that he could make such comments and not expect them to be posted on social media?  Social media is increasingly making a major role in the ending of careers – whether they be MPs, celebrities, or regular members of the public. I guess Mr Turner was not that savvy with social media or with its potential to highlight his bigoted views of homosexuality.


Food blogger to stand as MP and  it’s all thanks to  Katie Hopkins

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Jack Monroe is a writer, food blogger and anti-poverty campaigner who came to public attention recently after an online dispute with columnist Katie Hopkins. In a Tweet in 2015, Ms Hopkins – a former Apprentice contestant, had accused Ms Monroe of “vandalising a war memorial and desecrating the memory of those who fought for her freedom, or of approving or condoning such behaviour”. Ms Hopkins lost the subsequent libel case and was ordered to pay £24,000 in damages but because of legal costs is facing a six-figure bill for her libellous comment. Ms Hopkins had claimed the comment had no lasting damage on Ms Monroe’s reputation, but Mr Justice Warby didn’t agree, saying that the Tweet “not only caused Ms Monroe real and substantial distress, but also harm to her reputation which was serious”.

 

Jack Monroe has decided to capitalise on her recent public profile created by the libel case to stand as a candidate for the constituency of Southend West. Naturally, she announced the news on Twitter accompained by a link to a National Health Action (NHA) post that commented they were pleased she was standing. Ms Monroe thanked Katie Hopkins for indirectly being her “campaign sponsor” but is realistic that her chances at the General Election are very slim, if not non-existent. Replying to comments on Twitter that she has no chance, she said: “For all those gloating that I may lose my deposit, I may well do, but you should be directing your glee to my campaign sponsor, Katie.” She then again referred to Ms Hopkins role in her decision to stand: “…because nothing feels more right than using money earned through division and hate, to instead promote unity, community, and care […] So from the bottom of my heart, thankyou Katie for your generous – if unwitting – contribution to saving the National Health Service.” Overturning a 14,000 majority held by Tory David Amess at the last election in Southend West is not going to happen, but Ms Monroe’s campaign will draw some attention to important social issues such as the National Health Service and poverty, so good on Ms Monroe for standing up for her values in the same way that she stood up to the obnoxious Katie Hopkins.


 

Labour’s shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, speaks in Liverpool

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Labour’s shadow Chancellor and right-hand man to the party leader Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, was in Liverpool yesterday where he addressed a large crowd at the city’s St. George’s Hall. He urged the people of Liverpool to take the fight to the Tories and he was greeted with cheers and chants as he rallied his Labour supporters for the fight to defeat the Tories on 8 June.

 

Mr McDonnell, who was born in Liverpool, promised to create an Investment Bank of the North, saying:  “Labour will invest in communities to transform this country and ensure no one and no community is ever left behind again.” He promised to build a million new homes and that Labour wouldn’t be afraid to call them “council homes.” He also said that a Labour Government would close tax loopholes that benefit the rich.  He also mocked the Prime Minister for her refusal to take part in a debate with Jeremy Corbyn: “If Theresa May is so strong and secure, why won’t she be debate with Jeremy Corbyn – because he would expose her.”

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In a rallying cry to Labour’s supporters in the city and beyond he said: “this is the opportunity of a generation’ ‘this is our time, carpe diem, seize this opportunity.” Watch a video of John McDonnell’s message to Liverpool on the Liverpool Echo website.

 


Further Reading:

 

  • What do we do know? the New Labour landslide, 20 years on – READ MORE (Guardian.com/uk)

 

  • Jeremy Corbyn election bid to promote “warmer” style of leadership – READ MORE (Guardian.com/uk)

 

  • EU leaders agree on tough stance at special Brexit summit – READ MORE (Guardian.com/uk)

 

  • Nearly half of all Labour  voters could desert the party, poll suggests – READ MORE (Independent.co.uk)

 

  • Theresa May’s “poisonous propaganda” about immigrants fuels violent hate crime, says Tim Farron – READ MORE (Independent.co.uk)

 

  • Labour pledges to outlaw all zero-hour contracts – READ MORE (Guardian.com/uk)

 

  • Jeremy Corbyn gets personal in one-off campaign speech – READ MORE (Guardian.com/uk)

 

  • Parliament’s lack of diversity is shocking. This election is  a change for change – READ MORE (Guardian.com/uk)

 

  • Defend Tim Farron, a true liberal, even if it makes you queasy – READ MORE (Guardian.com/uk)

 

  • Labour facing revolt as activists refuse to back candidates in bid to fight plans for hard Brexit – READ MORE (Independent.co.uk)

 

  • Theresa May accuses the SNP of “wanting to disrupt this election” – READ MORE (Independent.co.uk)
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