Football must be a safe environment for our children

Dear Editor

I would like to take this opportunity to praise all those who have come forward to report sexual abuse suffered whilst taking part in youth football. This is an incredibly brave thing to do and not only does it ensure that we can punish those responsible for these despicable crimes, but it also means that we can take steps to protect children in the future.

It has been particularly worrying to hear reports of famous clubs paying large sums of money to victims in order to cover up these crimes.  The FA’s investigation must be thorough at all levels of football and it must ensure that from the largest Premier League club to the smallest local youth team, every club recognises its responsibility to protect its players.

Football is a key part of our national identity; it (and indeed every sport) must be a safe environment for our children.


Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Labour are worried that their pro-EU message may not be resonating with voters

Dear Editor,

The media has reported that senior Labour figures have blamed their poor performance (a drop from second to fourth) in the Sleaford by election on difficulties caused by voters’ focus on Brexit.

It seems that some in Labour are worried that the pro-EU, pro-uncontrolled immigration, anti-patriotic, anti-monarchy and anti-armed forces message so beloved by the disproportionately London-centric leadership of the Labour Party may not be resonating with ordinary voters across the nation.

Some commentators will no doubt suggest that voters across (the very much pro-Brexit) North East will be equally turned off by this modern Labour Party and its priorities. Scotland has already turned its back on Labour (even the Tories now surpassing them) and they have lost huge ground in their traditional Welsh heartlands too. If we in UKIP can get things right, the North East will be next.


Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Drug companies fines should go to NHS

Local MEP Jonathan Arnott is urging the government to divert the £89.4 million fines levied for drug overcharging from the Treasury to the health service.

“Considering the financial constraints facing the NHS in in the North East, as well as the rest of the country, I think it would be an appropriate use of the fines to provide more doctors and nurses, extra training places or keep under-threat units open,” he said.

His comments come in the wake of the Competition and Markets Authority fining drug giant Pfizer £84.2 million for over-charging the NHS for an epilepsy drug and fining drug distributor Flyn Pharma £5.2 million for the 2,600% overnight price increase for the drug in 2012.

“I appreciate that the companies intend to appeal the CMA’s decision but if it is upheld or even if smaller fines imposed I think the money should go to the NHS,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP.

“If this money goes, as planned to the Treasury, I fear it will just disappear and the public will not feel any tangible benefit from what it is really an unexpected windfall.

“Every day we read more horror stories about patients, including particularly vulnerable pensioners, lying on trollies in hospital corridors or ambulances lining up outside with no available beds for those they have brought for urgent treatment so also wasting paramedic resources.

“Given the overall picture of lack of funds in the NHS these fines are really a drop in the ocean but they would help and I have no doubt at all that my North East constituents would far rather it went there than anywhere else,” he added.

Figures show government failure over immigration

Latest figures showing that net migration has remained near record levels  shows the government has failed miserably in its promises to cut immigration, said local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott today.

“These figures reveal that net migration at 335,000 was the second highest number on record and the number of EU citizens coming to live in the country at 284,000 is a record,” he said.

“The EU accounts for only 6% of the world’s population, yet almost half of all immigration to the UK. Everything UKIP has said on immigration is coming true, yet still some people try to maintain the fiction that we can control immigration without leaving the EU,” said Mr Arnott.

“The overall figures mean a city the size of Newcastle-on-Tyne being added to our population from net immigration alone each year – which puts increasing pressure of our already struggling NHS, education system, housing and infrastructure.

“We have voted to leave the EU and the fact that so many of those moving here are from that bloc shows that Brexit should be fast-tracked not delayed at every twist and turn,” said Mr Arnott.