Tag Archives: Immigration

Save us from Sangatte Two

V__EB6FAs a Kent MP, I remember the height of the asylum crisis fifteen years ago, and the role then played by the Sangatte camp near Calais.

Sangatte offered a launching pad to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to try again and again to enter Britain illegally. It therefore drew many migrants to Calais to try an illegal crossing into our country.

Over a decade on, France’s establishment of Sangatte Two, is a terrible defeat for this government’s immigration policy. The French have ignored the pleas of the Prime Minister, his ministers and successive UK governments.

When I asked the minister what the effect of this new camp would be, he said it was a matter for the French authorities. However, he will have tried to stop the French building it and, like me, he knows that it can only result in a further surge of illegal immigrants coming our way.

For the French too, as I saw on a recent visit to Calais, building a new camp will only make the situation worse.

It can be heart-breaking to meet the bands of mainly single men from Africa who sleep out around Calais. However, supporting illegal immigrants in camps, while they try to break into the port and hide under lorries, or even in the back of returning tourists’ cars, will only attract more.

What the French need to do is to get tough with their EU partners with whom they decided to share a common borders area called Schengen. The UK decided to stay out for now, but it affects us nonetheless.

In Calais I met one young man called Peter. He told me he had come from Eritrea via Libya, where Gadaffi no longer stops the boats, to Italy.

Peter landed on the Italian island near Africa called Lampedusa. Rather than dealing with him there or sending him back to where he had come from, the Italians took him to the city of Bologna in northern Italy and left him by the railway station.

Inevitably, Peter caught a Bologna train to Paris, and on to Calais. Peter then tried night after night to cross to Britain. I suspect he now has.

The EU and human rights laws are not working. It is time we became independent, so we can better turn back illegal immigrants, but also insist EU migrants meet UKIP’s skills based, Australian style points based immigration system.

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Mark Reckless highlights promises to Rochester and Strood voters he can only honour in UKIP

DSC_2190Press (1)Mark Reckless today detailed the many promises he made to Rochester and Strood voters which he has left the Conservatives and joined UKIP to honour.

Mark Reckless said:

“The people, not party whips, are my boss. They have the final say, which is why I resigned to allow this vote on my decision to stand for re-election under UKIP colours. I did so to be faithful to the promises I made to them, promises I simply could not keep as a Conservative – and which I can only honour to my constituents in UKIP.”

He detailed the ten key promises he could not keep under the Conservative banner which he can honour in UKIP:

  1. Defend the NHS: Alone of the main parties, UKIP opposes the inclusion of the NHS in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which exposes the NHS to more, unwanted corporate involvement, and instead promotes a single elected health board to run the NHS in Kent and Medway.
  2. Control Immigration: UKIP is the only party with a credible, coherent, and balanced approach to migration, our points-based system centred on merits. Neither Labour, nor the Lib Dems, nor the Conservatives support EU exit – the essential precondition for managed migration.
  3. Responsible Public Finances: Under George Osborne, the UK’s deficit is not being cut – it is growing again. EU exit and reducing overseas aid favoured by UKIP provide the extra resources as we cut wasteful spending rather than essential services.
  4. Leave the EU: The Conservative leadership have stated openly that they will not campaign for Britain’s exit from the EU, irrespective of the charade of a doomed renegotiation. Only UKIP stand for Britain’s independence from Europe.
  5. Local Planning by Locals: UKIP’s local democracy platform alone will return decision-making over unwanted local developments to local residents themselves – and I stand firmly with my local constituents in opposition to the mistaken Lodge Hill development plan.
  6. No EU Bailouts: Britain has burned countless billions bailing out the catastrophic European project – and David Cameron and George Osborne have just agreed to send yet another cheque, which UKIP alone credibly stands against.
  7. Responsible Foreign Policy: I refused to vote for the Libyan intervention, which has made the country too dangerous to report from and fuelled dangerous emigration across the Mediterranean, and voted against the recent Iraq intervention as well. We should first rebuild and strengthen our armed forces.
  8. Support Schools: Medway primary schools are seriously under-performing despite many dedicated teachers. UKIP’s policy of emphasising vocational education to complement selection to grammar schools, which the Conservatives have failed to support, is the way to raise standards in education.’
  9. Defend the Countryside: We cannot defend the countryside without returning power to local residents – and only UKIP has a radical agenda of local decision-making by local residents.
  10. Promote Rochester Nationally: Conservatives have failed in their attempt to gain city status for ‘Medway’. With UKIP I can campaign for the restoration of Rochester’s traditional city status, something on which we have been let down by Conservative and Labour.

Immigration: We believe in quality, not quantity

The Conservatives have failed the people of Rochester and Strood on immigration. The coalition have broken their promise to bring net migration down to the ‘tens of thousands’ with the country now having to face an unsustainable level of net immigration of 225,000 each year. They are now exacerbating this important issue by ministers using inflammatory language to hide their incompetence.

Steven Woolfe, UKIP’s Migration Spokesman, and Mark Reckless, UKIP By-Election Candidate, have today condemned the Conservatives for lowering the tone of the debate.

Steven Woolfe said “politicians must be wary of the words they use when referring to the issue of migration. Failure to do so can cause friction in the local community. This can fuel far right fringe parties, who will try and capitalise on the derogatory language used by mainstream political parties”.

“Our ethical migration policy will not discriminate nor favour any particular nationality. We wish to introduce an Australian styled points based system here in Great Britain, so we can finally control the levels of migration entering the country. UKIP believe in quality, not quantity. To ensure this we will increase the UK Border Agency staff by 2,500, meaning a more practical, sensible and fair migration policy for the UK.”

Fully endorsing Steven Woolfe’s agenda-setting work on migration, Mark Reckless added:

“The rebalancing of our immigration policy that only exit from the EU makes possible will end the discrimination against Commonwealth countries, which unlimited immigration from within the European Union has caused. Only UKIP’s points system guarantees the equal and ethical treatment of Common wealth and all applicants, as well as the restoration of the proper controls of our borders British voters rightly expect and turn to UKIP to deliver.”

Campaign Diary, 27th October 2014

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Ed Balls was in town today. I completely understand the anger of former Labour voters who feel betrayed by the Blair and Brown governments he served – to say nothing of the Miliband shadow cabinet. Many are finding the same warm welcome in UKIP I did, where they will never be taken for granted. But I must pull Mr Balls up on one point. He said in Rochester & Strood that I want to let corporations loose on the NHS. I don’t. UKIP’s health policy is clear – defend and fund the NHS.

My father was a doctor. My mother was a nurse. My brother is a doctor. I’ve been working closely with the staff at Medway Hospital to get it out of special measures, which is one reason why Strood GP Dr Juneja was good enough to endorse my NHS record. I’m doing the work on the ground. That, not misrepresenting opponents, is how patients get higher standards.


toryghostroadJill Seymour MEP is one of UKIP’s stars on the party’s front bench and it was a real pleasure today to welcome her back to Rochester & Strood for the second time already. The other parties are rounding-up the camera crews for their big names, who get out of a car, offer the old clichés, and disappear back to London again at the very first opportunity. Jill and I tried to do something more useful.

We went to the Tory ghost road at Riverside, Strood built at £13 million expense in a predictably doomed green attempt to stop people driving to work as they wish, and now silent all day save for the odd (mainly empty) bus. What a shambles. The Tory council won’t open it to cars. Conservative-led central government won’t open it. UKIP, when we get the chance, will drop the nonsense and open the road. Jill said it well today – ‘for that much money, I’d have expected a motorway – and a long one’.


The volunteers generously showing up at the UKIP campaign shop at 30 Rochester High Street are a mix of all backgrounds, all ages. I’m grateful to each. Our youngest is Jonathan Woods from Rainham. You’d never imagine listening to him talk about why he’s helping out with UKIP that he’s only 14. You can watch him explain himself here, he’s already a terrific advocate for his community and his country and I really appreciate the support of all the Woods family:


WP_20141027_005Not only has she written a book discussing why UKIP really matters – and it’s well worth a look, you’ll find it here, but Suzanne Evans has won a deserved reputation with the People’s Army for leading from the front with real passion, generosity, and tirelessness.

She was in Rochester & Strood today to support my campaign, and I really appreciate it. Joining UKIP means finishing up on the same side as people like Suzanne, and I can’t understate how much I’m glad that’s now the case.


Some of the dedication UKIP receives is no less inspiring. Caroline Stephens is our prospective parliament candidate for Stroud and I can’t overstate how impressed I am by her commitment to the cause. She’s able to join the local cohorts volunteering because she makes a 300-mile trip each weekend. All I can say is that I salute her and I thank her.


She’s not the only one by any means. This is the UKIP team from Leicestershire, who got off the bus outside our campaign shop today – a Monday too! – without our even knowing they were making such an effort. They brought their own supply of pork pies too!

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Dan Hannan, a Conservative MEP of wit and erudition I’m proud to call a friend, put out a good tweet today. It was about the European Arrest Warrant. Actually, that was one of the reasons I’m now in UKIP. This EU arrest warrant makes any British liable to be hauled up in court in any of the other twenty-seven countries trapped in the European project. To put it mildly, they don’t all match the standards of British justice – and British citizens have been caught up in some truly shocking cases. Dan said: ‘There scare-stories about criminals evading justice without the EAW are hysterical. There were extraditions agreements in place before 2004’, the year the EU enlarged so fateful. Dan, you’re right on the money.


B04jcyUIgAAFPcnI’ve long been a believer in democracy not just in the way every decent person is, but in a way I think I can fairly call radical – believing not only in getting power back from Brussels to Britain, but from London to local communities, and in engaging people again in a process that should always have been theirs from the start.

This is John Turner. He’s never voted before. He never felt any of the old parties listened to people properly. He’s seventy-three years of age and he’s voting for the first time – for UKIP, and for me, it’s quite a humbling thing to be able to say.

Why I am leaving the Conservative party and joining UKIP

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.

BLOG: Our Front Line in Calais

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V__D3E4I am grateful to BBC Radio Kent for taking me to Calais to see at first hand the struggle to secure our border.

I was taken to meet some of the immigrants, mainly it seems from Africa, who are camped out in their thousands around Calais, in extremely basic conditions, trying to make their way to the UK.

Many different factors push or pull illegal immigrants to attempt to cross from Calais to the UK, including for some the respective benefit regimes. However, the number one factor struck me as being the English language. Many of the migrants to one degree or another speak English, while few speak French, and without French they do not believe they will be able to get a job, or perhaps even basic benefits, in France.

V__EB6FPeter from Ethiopia told me about his passage through Sudan and Libya before a perilous crossing by boat to the Italian island of Lampedusa. From there the Italian authorities took him to the city of Bologna and left him near the railway station, where he got a train to Paris and then Calais.

Rather than just focus their ire on the UK because immigrants want to come here, the French should put real pressure on the Italians, since it is the Italians with whom they have chosen to share a common border area within Schengen. How can that be sustainable if the Italians just wave migrants through?

Click here here for latest that ministers are doing

Proud of our Select Committee

We inquired into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham 18 months ago and were strongly critical of Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police, as we saw little evidence of their accepting and addressing their failings, unlike in Rochdale.

We were extremely unimpressed today with the past and present leadership of South Yorkshire Police and required them to give evidence under oath.

Martin Kimber, Rotherham’s Chief Executive became the latest in a long line of senior figures to resign just before a hearing with the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Unfortunately, however, Joyce Thacker, their head of Childrens’ Services, continues to fail to take responsibility for her failings. In my view these are perhaps the most egregious of anyone involved, except of course for the perpetrators themselves, but for now clings to her post, pay and pension.

Surely public service should be about more than that?

As a Committee though I am proud of what we have achieved in seeking to hold properly to account people who are meant to serve the public.