Letters – The Indian government should review the case of Nick Dunn and five other British ex-soldiers that were arrested alongside him

Dear Editor,

Yesterday (21st January) I stood up in the European Parliament to call upon the Indian Government to release my constituent Nick Dunn and five other British ex-soldiers that were arrested alongside him.  Whilst I appreciate that the Indian government has legitimate concerns over illegally held weapons, the circumstances of this specific case are unusual and I called upon the Indian Government to review the case.

Nick Dunn and his ‘AdvanFort’ colleagues were employed to fight against piracy and believed that they were working in accordance with the law.  They have now been sentenced to five years of ‘rigorous imprisonment.’ It seems to me that these British citizens have simply ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It is my hope that if the case is reviewed, the Indian government will see fit to release them.

In such cases, I believe it is important to put aside tribal political differences and work together to achieve the right outcome for British citizens.

Regards,
Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – Could our political leaders not find more pressing issues to address than Donald Trump and his annoying brand of shock jock politics?

Dear Editor,

On Monday Parliament spent several hours debating about US celebrity
(and occasional politician) Donald Trump. Earlier in the day Tata
Steel had announced over 1000 job losses across the UK (another dark day
for the already crippled UK Steel Industry.) Here in the North East,
Hartlepool will be impacted by the Tata job losses and people in
Berwick are also coming to the terms with the loss of over 200 much
needed jobs at Jus- Rol as the company are moving production to
Greece.

Simultaneously David Cameron’s feeble EU negotiation rumbles on, the
NHS continues to be faced with the possibility of further strikes by
medical staff (not to mention the numerous other crises that face our
Health Service) and countless other political issues continue to
impact the everyday lives of millions of people in the UK.

I have found myself wondering if perhaps our political leaders could
find more pressing issues to address than Donald Trump and his annoying brand of
shock jock politics?

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

Letters – What more must the people of the Falkland Islands do until Labour will respect their wishes?

Dear Editor,

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party appears to be
taking a very worrying approach towards the Falkland Islands.

In March 2013 the people of the Falkland Islands held a referendum to
decide the future of the islands. The question was “Do you wish the
Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an
Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?” The BBC reported that 1,513
voted yes with only three votes for no – an overwhelming majority by any standard.

This makes me wonder why the Labour Party even need to have a
discussion about the matter? I believe in self-determination – Jeremy
Corbyn also claims to support this ideal. So why are the Labour Party
unable to stand behind the Islanders?

What more must these British Citizens do until Labour will respect
their wishes? I find it very sad that any major British political
party is unwilling to respect such a clear mandate in a democratic
referendum.

I would ask your readers and the Labour Party one simple question:
Should the views of the people not come before the personal views of a
party leader?

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

Jonathan Arnott MEP calls for the release of Nick Dunn and his fellow prisoners

The plight of Northumberland man Nick Dunn – imprisoned in India along with other pirate hunters – has been raised in the European Parliament.

Regional UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott today (Thur) called on the Indian government to review their cases and free them.

Mr Dunn, a 29-year-old former paratrooper from Ashington, and five other British ex-soldiers, were jailed for five years earlier this month. They were working for US maritime company AdvanFort providing anti-piracy protection when their ship was detained in October 2013 and weapons were found.

In the following months the charges were dropped, but the Indian authorities appealed against the decision and the men were detained there and have now been jailed.

Speaking in Strasbourg Mr Arnott expressed his respect for the Indian people and the Indian government and said he recognised it was a “difficult and unusual situation which gave rise to the current case.”

He continued, “I recognise that the Indian government has legitimate concerns over illegally-held held weapons and understand their reasonably-held worries about similar armaments since the events in Mumbai in 2008.

“But as far as I can see, the British citizens – including Nick Dunn from Ashington in my constituency – also had a reasonable belief. They believed that they were acting in accordance with the law.

“They believed that they – working for an American company – were fighting against piracy not doing anything contrary to the best interests of India. Nor did they even necessarily know that the weapons were illegal.

“In such a case, I wonder whether their continued imprisonment really serves any public interest.

“I therefore call upon the Indian government to review these cases, and to free those British, Italian and Estonian citizens who have been caught up in a situation not of their own making,” said Mr Arnott.

Local businesses being hit by EU rules

Case studies show that Hartlepool is losing trade thanks to being members of the European Union, according to an MEP who has worked on behalf of local businesses.

North IT is a small Hartlepool-based firm supplying digital services and app development to businesses and customers as far away as Australia. But for the last year it has been unable to trade with our closest neighbours in Europe, thanks to European Union regulations which were introduced last year.

Managing Director Paul Jenkins explained how his business has suffered:

“Most consumer app purchases are for very small amounts of money. We rely on selling large quantities, so collecting the necessary data for each sale – and changing our prices depending on the VAT rate applicable in each country – is problematic.

“Because of the huge technical problems this creates for automatic purchases, the new rules effectively prevent us doing business with EU countries.  Our estimate is that we lost 5 to 10 percent of our turnover almost overnight.  It would take more time to work out a VAT bill than it does to develop an app!

“We do still trade internationally outside the EU. It’s not just my business that’s been affected; many other companies in this sector are saying exactly the same,” he said.

Jonathan Arnott, the North East’s UKIP Euro-MP, visited North IT to hear more from the business.  He has been an outspoken campaigner against the new regulations, known as VATMOSS.  He has raised the issue of European Union VAT regulations in the European Parliament and with the European Commission, but there is little sign that anything is going to change.

“Under the new rules, whenever you trade with customers elsewhere in the European Union, VAT is chargeable at the local rate. If your business doesn’t pay VAT on a product at present, then you have to increase prices by as much as 27% for certain countries, making you uncompetitive, whilst adding to your accounting workload.

“In North IT’s case, the situation is even worse for technical reasons. They rely on automated purchases, but you can’t always prove which country your purchaser is in until they’ve submitted card information to buy the product. And that affects the price they have to pay.

“It would be comical if it weren’t so sad.  Because we’re in the European Union, they can’t afford to do business with other EU nations. Once again the European Union is harming our economy and hurting a local Hartlepool business.  It’s time to leave the European Union and end this bureaucratic nightmare.”

Letters – Could our political leaders not find more pressing issues to address than Donald Trump?

Dear Editor,

On Monday Parliament spent several hours debating about US celebrity (and occasional politician) Donald Trump. Earlier in the day Tata Steel had announced over 1000 job losses across the UK (another dark day for the already crippled UK Steel Industry.) Here in the North East, Hartlepool will be impacted by the Tata job losses and people in Berwick are also coming to the terms with the loss of over 200 much needed jobs at Jus- Rol as the company are moving production to Greece.

Simultaneously David Cameron’s feeble EU negotiation rumbles on, the NHS continues to be faced with the possibility of further strikes by medical staff (not to mention the numerous other crises that face our Health Service) and countless other political issues continue to impact the everyday lives of millions of people in the UK.

I have found myself wondering if perhaps our political leaders could find more pressing issues to address than Donald Trump and his annoying brand of shock jock politics?

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP