Mark Reckless, UKIP, joins David Campbell Bannerman MEP on the BBC’s Daily Politics to discuss the forthcoming EU Referendum
Tag Archives: David Cameron
UKIP’s Mark Reckless speaks to BBC’s Sunday Politics South East show following his general election defeat in Rochester and Strood.
Only Mark Reckless can stop Boris Johnson destroying our Hoo Peninsula.
Mark led the campaign against Boris Island, and won!
If, as expected, Boris is soon Tory leader a Tory MP here would be whipped to back his airport.
Mark Reckless has a track record of beating Boris.
Nigel Farage has agreed with Mark that UKIP will block Boris as PM unless he drops his airport plan.
On 7th May, vote UKIP to save our Peninsula.
Sign Here To Say No To Boris and his Bonkers Airport!
I was asked onto Sky’s Murghnahan programme for UKIP this morning to discuss illegal immigration.
I was initially told that I would be debating Nadim Zahawi, the Conservative MP who has called for an amnesty for illegal immigration, a proposal which Boris Johnson also previously supported.
However, when I arrived, I was told that Nadim had pulled, out and there would be no-one from the Conservatives to discuss immigration.
It was the same story on Friday, when I did the ten past eight slot for the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. Barbara Roche, the unrepentant ex-immigration minister, was there for Labour, who allowed 3.6 million migrants to settle in just thirteen years.
However, for the Conservatives, who have now let immigration rise even higher than it was under Labour, there was no-one.
David Cameron is ducking debates nationally, and I am of course used to the Conservative candidate for Rochester and Strood being ‘unavailable’ when I debate my local Labour opponent and others.
I was also struck by how Grant Shapps MP just seemed to want the question to end when we were asked about immigration on Question Time last week.
Do the Conservatives now have a policy of simply refusing to appear when the media want to discuss immigration?
Just as Cameron won’t debate Farage, or even Miliband, the Conservatives think, if they hide, that people will just forget their catastrophic failure of immigration. UKIP won’t.
624,000 people came to the UK as immigrants in the year up to September 2014 we learnt on Thursday. That is two and a half times the population of the Medway Towns.
Even after subtracting the number of people who left the country in the same year, net immigration to Britain was about 300,000 people. That is as many as live in Medway and Gravesend put together.
Overseas national took up 768,000 National Insurance numbers last year and 43% of new jobs in the UK went to people coming from the EU.
Do you remember the Conservatives promising to cut net immigration to just tens of thousands?
We were told it was a “No ifs, no buts” promise and David Cameron said “kick us out in five years if we don’t deliver”.
They haven’t delivered and the election is in two months time.
Net immigration is three times what David Cameron promised, and he is now letting even more people into the country than Labour did.
I was asked onto BBC Question Time this week to debate the latest immigration figures with Conservative Chairman, Grant Shapps. You can see on the link below that he did not have any answers to my points:
Like Labour, the Conservatives support freedom of movement in the European Union, so almost anyone who wants from 27 EU countries, some much poorer than us, can come here at will.
How will our young people get a decent wage, or the chance to move up the career ladder, if employers can always instead just import labour from Eastern and Southern Europe?
Only UKIP will restrict immigration from the European Union.
UKIP will introduce an Australian-style Points Based System for Immigration. That means we will welcome highly skilled and qualified people up to an annual limit determined by Parliament.
Only UKIP has a non-discriminatory immigration policy. We will apply the same rules to people coming from Europe as to people from outside.
This will mean we can be fair to people from a Commonwealth background, instead of giving preference to Europeans, and cut total immigration to a level with which our country can cope.
Only UKIP MPs in Parliament will make David Cameron and the other parties act on immigration.
I got straight back to work after my re-election as our MP last Friday morning. The result was announced at 4.20am and I was back in Parliament to be sworn in at 9.30am. This is thought to be a record for the quickest time.
The reason I went back so quickly was to support a Bill to protect our NHS. I spoke against further fragmentation and privatisation of the service. Very few government MPs bothered to attend but the opposition benches, on which I now sit, were full (pictured right) and there was strong support for the NHS.
So far this week I have been busy in Parliament every day.
On Monday I supported Zac Goldsmith MP, who has been leading the campaign for Real Recall so that the public can ‘recall’ MPs who let them down, and insist on a by-election. Zac came over to consult us on our new UKIP bench (pictured left) but, unfortunately, those of us who believe in Real Recall were in a minority. The majority of MPs have decided a committee of MPs, and not voters, will decide if an MP may be recalled, which we see as an establishment stitch up.
On Tuesday the front page of the Daily Telegraph referred to one patient at Medway hospital A&E waiting 35 hours to be seen, while ten had waited more than 24 hours there in the past year. When I asked Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, whether he could report any progress to improve the A&E, he responded by attacking me and UKIP.
On Wednesday I followed up again on Medway hospital and asked the Prime Minister whether he agreed with Dr Philip Barnes, the hospital’s Acting Chief Executive, that what our hospital needed was ‘a period of patience and stability’.
It was not completely clear from the Prime Minister’s response whether he agreed that was the priority, but he too ended up attacking me and UKIP instead of answering the question. UKIP’s policy on the NHS is to replace the current alphabet soup of regulators and competing bodies in the NHS with a single elected NHS health board for Kent and Medway.
You can also see from this short clip what MPs thought of our democratic decision to re-elect me as our representative. Even if they now fear for their own jobs because of UKIP, they should surely respect what voters decide.
On Thursday I listened to the debate on the historic child sex abuse inquiry which the government set up following pressure from the Home Affairs Select Committee, of which I have been a member. There was a good debate, again including Zac Goldsmith and also Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, but sadly there were only a dozen MPs present.
Today I am holding my MP’s surgery. After that I am travelling to Skegness to join the Panel for this week’s edition of the BBC’s Any Questions. If you would like to hear our debate it will be on Radio 4 at 8pm tonight and again just after 1.10pm tomorrow.
Today, I am leaving the Conservative Party and joining UKIP.
These decisions are never easy. Mine certainly hasn’t been. Many have been the sleepless nights when I have talked it over with my wife and thought about the future of our children.
But my decision is born of optimism, conviction Britain can be better, knowledge of how the Westminster parties hold us back, and belief in the fresh start UKIP offers.
We all know the problem with British politics. People feel disconnected from Westminster.
In fact, “disconnected” is too mild a word. People feel ignored, taken-for-granted, over-taxed, over-regulated, ripped off and lied-to.
And they have reason to.
MPs, with some honourable exceptions act, not as local representatives, but as agents of the political class. Too many focus, not on championing their constituents’ interests at Westminster, but on championing their parties’ interests in their constituencies.
We’ve even evolved a special vocabulary to talk about the way MPs betray their constituents’ interests. We talk of politicians being “brave” or “mature”, “pragmatic” or “realistic”. But they’re all euphemisms for the same thing: breaking your election pledges.
Well, I can still remember the promises I made in Rochester and Strood at the last election, and I intend to keep them.
I promised we would cut immigration. I promised we would deal with the deficit and then bring down taxes. I promised we would localise decisions, including over housing numbers. I promised more open and accountable politics. Above all, I promised to help get Britain out of the EU.
And shall I tell you something? I’ve found that it’s impossible to keep those promises as a Conservative. That is why I am joining UKIP.
I haven’t reached this decision lightly. I’ve been a Conservative for as long as I remember. I have friends across that party, in Parliament and in the constituency. I hope some will remain friends.
I don’t doubt the patriotism of Conservative volunteers and supporters. But I’m afraid that my party leadership is now part of Britain’s problem.
Let me return to those promises I made in Rochester and Strood.
I promised at the last election, as did every other Conservative candidate, that we would cut net immigration from the hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands. The reality is that in the last year 243,000 more people came to this country than left, back up to the levels we saw under Labour.
I’m not someone who is always and everywhere against immigration. It takes guts and energy to cross half the world in search of a better life, and I support a sensible amount of controlled, legal immigration.
But if my constituents are asked to accept the case for some immigration, they want to feel, in return that we are in control of whom we are admitting and in what numbers. And we have no such sense today.
The insanity of our migration rules mean that second generation Britons in my constituency have huge difficulties just
to bring granny over for a wedding, let alone marry someone from abroad themselves, yet they see our borders open to unlimited numbers of EU migrants.
Does anyone, on Left or Right, genuinely support an immigration system where we turn away the best and brightest from our Commonwealth, who have links and family here, in order to make way for unskilled workers from Southern and Eastern Europe.
I promised to cut immigration, while treating people fairly and humanely. I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.
I also promised that we would make government live within its means, just like the rest of us have to.
Instead, we are adding more to the national debt in just five years than even Labour managed over 13 years.
And two weeks ago the three Westminster parties have just committed themselves to giving every Scot £1,600 more a year indefinitely.
I promised to restore order to our public finances. I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.
I also promised to put my constituents’ interests first and return power from the centre to our locality.
In particular we promised to do away with Labour’s top-down housing targets that forced us to concrete over our green fields.
Yet, now I find that, under government pressure, our Conservative council in Medway is increasing its housing target from the annual 815 we had under Labour, to at least 1,000 every year.
Despite the promised EU referendum, it is assumed that current rates of open door EU immigration will continue for at least twenty years.
In my constituency that means they are giving permission to build 5,000 houses in a bird sanctuary on the Hoo Peninsula, despite it having the highest level of environmental protection as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. If that goes ahead, where will it stop?
I promised to protect our rural Hoo Peninsula. I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.
I also promised to help make government more open and accountable, so MPs would answer outwards to their constituents, not inwards to their Whips.
David Cameron and his government promised to cut the number of MPs, give Parliament its own timetable, offer free votes in bill committees, have 200 postal open primaries, and bring in Recall for voters to sack MPs.
Yet, not one of those promised reforms has happened.
I promised political reform. I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.
And, of course, I promised to give people a vote on leaving the EU. When I voted that way in the Commons, along with 110 other MPs from various parties, we had three-line Whips against us from all three party leaderships.
Since then, David Cameron has promised a referendum. But I’m afraid I’ve reluctantly reached the view that he is doing so purely as a device. He has already preordained his intended outcome, namely continued membership of the EU on something very close to the current terms. Everything else is for show.
What the prime minister has in mind – it’s not even a secret at Westminster – is modelled on what Harold Wilson did in 1975, a bogus renegotiation followed by a loaded referendum.
David Cameron, and all levels of government backed with taxpayers’ cash, would pretend the terms of membership were radically reformed, when in reality little or nothing would change.
A referendum should be a solemn and binding moment. A reminder to politicians that we work for the rest of the country. It shouldn’t be a party-political trick, a way to paper over cracks, or a way to buy yourself time.
I believe the question now is, not if we get a referendum, but when and on what terms. So, why should we accept terms loaded against us?
In this hall we want a straight referendum. An honest question. In or Out. No fudge, no conjuring trick, no sleight of hand, no fake renegotiation, no pretended new terms. Just a clear choice between EU membership and an independent Britain, trading with Europe but governing ourselves.
Every vote for UKIP, every MP for UKIP, means a better chance of getting that straight, fair referendum. If you vote UKIP, you get UKIP.
I promised a straight In/Out Referendum. I can’t keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.
And when we get that referendum, I want us to make the case for British independence in warm, optimistic language. We are not backward-looking or gloomy, still less xenophobic. The only nostalgia I see is the nostalgia of those Euro-enthusiasts who cling to their 1950s vision of a United States of Europe.
In almost every other field of politics, we have moved on. We no longer believe, as we did in the 1950s, that big conglomerates are the future, that the expansion of government is benign, or that economies needed to be planned.
But the EU remains a child of its time, wedded to its five-year plans, its unelected commissioners, its common workplace entitlements, its fixed prices, its corporatism, its lobbying cartels.
That is why Europe is the world’s only declining continent.
It’s therefore not nostalgia that makes us Eurosceptics. It’s optimism. We understand how much greater Britain could be if we raised our eyes to wider horizons.
All of you in the hall already know this. But I want our friends watching through the media to understand it, too. UKIP is a positive party with a positive vision. We believe in a global Britain, prosperous, independent and free. We believe in a Britain of opportunity we would be proud to leave our children.
Before I conclude, I want to invite you to come to my constituency. And I may need you even more than Douglas because Rochester and Strood is not Clacton.
Matthew Goodwin, the leading academic to study UKIP, says Rochester and Strood is not even in the top 100 Conservative constituencies vulnerable to UKIP.
I am proud to represent many ambitious professionals, aspirational families and young commuters. And by the way, if any of you are watching now, I hope you will be voting for me.
In Rochester we have a castle and a cathedral. We’ve a lovely high street full of independent shops. There are French patisseries and Italian delicatessens. We are less than an hour from London and just two hours from France.
Matthew Parris would love it.
But, just as Douglas Carswell answers to his constituents in Clacton, I answer to the constituents I serve in Rochester and Strood.
They are my boss. And, if I want to represent them under different colours, I hope in a party closer to their values, then I should ask their permission.
So, I will resign my seat in Parliament, trigger a by-election and, your National Executive allowing, stand for UKIP.
And I need you to join my campaign because, if we can win in Rochester and Strood, as well as Clacton, and perhaps here in South Yorkshire then we will show that UKIP can break through across the country. We will show once and for all that if you vote UKIP, you get UKIP.
A UKIP which can do for politics, what modernity has done for society. A UKIP which is about hope and optimism. A UKIP which can safeguard our children’s future. A UKIP which believes we are more than a star on somebody else’s flag.