LETTERS

If peers reject the Brexit Bill they will be kicking off a constitutional crisis the likes of which has not been seen in British politics for centuries

Dear Editor,

Last night MPs in the House of Commons passed the Brexit Bill. The Bill will now head to the House of Lords so that peers can debate and vote on it.

Brexit has the biggest mandate in the history of British politics and this Bill was overwhelmingly passed (without amendment) in the House of Commons. House of Lords approval should and must be a formality.

I well remember the furore in 2003 when the House of Lords voted down the bill on foxhunting, leading to a massive public outcry before the law was eventually passed.

On this issue the democratic mandate is even clearer. If unelected peers attempt to subvert the democratic will of both the British people and our democratically elected representatives they will be kicking off a constitutional crisis the likes of which has not been seen in British politics for centuries.
Regards,
Jonathan Arnott MEP,
UKIP, North East
LETTERS

China’s social care system is China’s responsibility, not ours

Dear Editor,

Media reports have revealed that our government has decided to give an additional £1.3 billion in foreign aid to a list of countries including India and China – despite both nations having a space programme.

Every day more frontline services are cut in the name of Tory austerity, yet that same government has just invested heavily in China’s fashion and film industries. Even worse, whilst our NHS is in the midst of a social care crisis, the UK government has just provided money to fund social care in China.

I have no objection to a reasonable foreign aid budget being spent on things like fighting famines and damage caused by natural disasters, providing clean water supplies or countering epidemics like the Ebola outbreak a couple of years ago.

Our social care system (like the entire NHS) is in desperate need of additional funding. It is the government’s responsibility to use British taxpayers’ money wisely, and its first duty is to spend it on the needs of British taxpayers. If China needs additional funding for its social care system I would suggest reallocating some the funding it currently spends on its space programme. China’s social care system is China’s responsibility, not ours.

By mismanaging and overspending on foreign aid, our government provides grist to the mill of those protectionists who would prefer to abolish foreign aid altogether.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP,

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

A fair and impartial judiciary must be the cornerstone of our legal system

Dear Editor,

As broadcaster Michael Crick has correctly pointed out, UK media gives huge amounts of coverage to US Supreme Court appointments but virtually ignores appointments to the UK Supreme Court. Thankfully in most situations, British judges have resisted the kind of judicial activism which has taken lawmaking away from democratically-elected bodies in the USA.

Yet we have recently seen just how influential the Supreme Court can be. Once we leave the European Union British Law will once again become the highest law in the land and our Supreme Court will truly become Supreme.

A fair and impartial judiciary must be the cornerstone of our legal system, now more than ever.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Heathrow? Gatwick? One thing is certain, the current status quo is the worst solution of all

Dear Editor,

The debate surrounding plans to build a third runway at Heathrow seems to have been going on for a lifetime.  It is crystal clear that the UK needs to expand capacity – and an extra runway there will also help regional airports such as Newcastle and Tees Valley. The proposed increase in capacity would certainly provide a knock-on boost for our airports and other businesses across the North East.

Expansion of either Heathrow or Gatwick would help our airports, though a Heathrow extra runway would probably have a greater benefit.

The rate things are going, by the time we get started they’ll need two extra runways. Less talk, more action is needed. Heathrow? Gatwick? Both?  One thing is certain, the current status quo is the worst solution of all.Get on with it!

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

LETTERS

Fishing must not be an afterthought in the Brexit negotiations

Dear Editor

I’ve just read the government’s White Paper,  which sets out some of the UK’s position on Brexit. The entire 77-page document contains only one paragraph of weasel words on fishing, something which disappoints me because we live in a coastal region with a huge fishing tradition. In the run up to the EU referendum I met many North East fishermen who told me they were voting to Leave because Brexit represented a fantastic opportunity to take back control and create jobs in the fishing industry.

Fishing must not be an afterthought in the Brexit negotiations; it is vital that we take back full control of the UK’s waters and fishing policy so that we can revitalise our fishing industry and protect our fish stocks from being overfished by foreign boats. Flawed EU policies have caused unprecedented amounts of fish dumping (at one point we were dumping more fish than actually landed) and we must ensure that this stops.

Theresa May must not be allowed to sell British fishermen down the river.  They need guarantees that our government will not once again let them down in the way that they’ve been let down every year since 1972.

Regards,
Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Saying that the dualling the A1 “continues to be a priority” is just not good enough

Dear Editor,

Confirmation from Transport Secretary Chris Grayling that the A1 is to be dualled from Northumberland to Scotland is to be welcomed.

But forgive me for not getting too excited – there is still no firm timetable for the work to begin.

I appreciate that the work will need to be carried out in stages to minimise the inevitable traffic delays it will create but frankly just saying that the dualling work “continues to be a priority” is just not good enough.

I have been personally pushing for the A1 improvements for many a year, as have many others, and the announcement of a firm date for work to begin is beyond overdue. And I am also keeping an eye on the A19 improvement plans.

All government departments are under budget constraints and what is a priority today can easily get kicked into the long grass. I shall do my best to ensure this does not happen.

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Does Newcastle City Council exist to serve local residents or their highest paid and most powerful staff?

Dear Editor,

I was amazed to read that the Labour-controlled Newcastle City Council has given Chief Executive Pat Ritchie yet another pay rise.   This latest pay rise will reportedly put Ms Ritchie’s (who was already paid more than the Prime Minister) salary at  £160,000 per year.

This Labour council have spent the last few years threatening local residents with cuts to everything from healthcare to school crossing patrols ‘due to a lack of government funding.’  Whilst there is no doubt that Tory austerity has made life difficult for councils, I admit that I find it curious that  even in the midst of savage cuts to frontline services, Newcastle City Council seem to have a limitless pot of money available  to fund pay rise after pay rise for senior council staff.

I for one cannot blame your readers for questioning whether this council exists to serve local residents or their highest paid and most powerful staff.

Regards,
Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Do you want more prisons? Or more criminals on your street?

Dear Editor,

Due to mismanagement by successive Tory and Labour governments our country is in the midst of a long-running and high-profile prison crisis.

We do not have enough prisons or cells, and many of those we do are outdated and unfit for purpose. We do not have nearly enough prison staff and our prison system has a huge discipline problem extending from contraband (such as phones and drugs) being commonplace within our jails to full-scale riots which have been taking over control of prisons. This utterly unacceptable situation has taken a huge toll on the wellbeing of both prison staff and inmates.

Lib Dem MP Nick Clegg has proposed a ‘solution’ – reducing prison numbers by releasing criminals. I cannot speak for your readers, but if I were given the choice of building more jails or having more convinced criminals on the streets, I would build more jails.

We must address the prison crisis by building new, modern prisons; vastly increasing the number of cells available across the UK, and significantly increasing the number of staff in our jails. Whilst we are doing this I would also recommend reviewing sentencing guidelines and introducing harsher deterrent punishments where appropriate. If sentencing is robust and prison conditions are tough, hopefully there will be fewer criminals and a safer society for everyone. A disciplined prison system will protect hard-working prison staff and increase inmate security.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Impact of the Landfill Directive

Dear Editor,

As a UKIP MEP I obviously look forward to the day we get our country back and are free of the EU shackles.

Having to dance to their tune is just wrong and I am thrilled that we voted to make our own music in last June’s Referendum.

Meanwhile, though not everyone is aware quite how many aspects of our life they rule one that people are conscious of is the impact of their Landfill Directive demands.

The government is under pressure to meet the EU’s impossible recycling targets and councils are under financial pressure from the government.

I well recall when our household rubbish was collected each week but after recycling bins came in most local authorities seized on this as opportunity to introduce alternative week collections.

Now some areas of the country only get their household bins emptied every three weeks and, outrageously in my book, trials are now going on with just once a month collections.

That is iniquitous and will lead to fly tipping and rubbish burning, which ironically will worsen pollution which the EU’s targets are designed to reduce.

There are public health issues here and the government should stand up the local authorities planning this madness and ensure we leave the EU fast and set our own targets.

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott MEP

LETTERS

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.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East