Jonathan Arnott MEP calls for clarification over e-cigarette adoption guidance

Urgent clarification is needed from Durham and North Tyneside Councils after confusion over e-cigarette guidance for adoptive and foster parents, said local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott today.

“In my view the guidance should say that loving couples anxious to provide a home for a child should not be prevented because of vaping.

“In the wake of a Staffordshire couple being barred from adopting after the would-be father was seen smoking an e-cigarette it has emerged that different councils have varying approaches.

“These I believe include North Tyneside and Durham local authorities who state they will not place under-fives with e-cigarette users.

“Many of the councils that take this stance cite the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), which recommends ‘users of e-cigarettes be considered smokers’ until concerns about the devices are cleared up.

“They have concerns that e-cigarettes ‘may act as a “gateway” for children and young people to start smoking.’

“However Public Health England has found there was ‘no data’ supporting the claim and that it was ‘rare’ even for teens to experiment with e-cigarettes. And they have also recently stated that the health risks of passive exposure to electronic cigarette vapour are… ‘likely to be extremely low.’

“It seems to me that the stance of the BAAF and the councils following their guidance needs urgently reviewing. Particularly as other councils follow alternative guidance from the Fostering Network, which says that people ‘should not be prevented from fostering or applying because of e-cigarettes use’,” said Mr Arnott.

“There are 69,000 children in care in this country in need of foster homes or adoptive parents and it seems that their chances are being hindered by politically correct social workers and conflicting guidance.

“They need to concentrate on the priorities of these children seeking a family life instead of looking for reasons not to provide it,” he added.

Cautious welcome for North East unemployment figures

Figures released today showing that unemployment figures in the North East are down have been cautiously welcomed by local MEP Jonathan Arnott.

“The fact that unemployment figures in the North East are now declining is a hugely encouraging sign.  However, we do need to be a little cautious when looking at these figures as the North East still has the highest rates of unemployment in the country.

“The gap between the North East and the national average is still over four times as high as it was at the end of 2007, and these figures come on the back of three consecutive quarterly rises,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP’s North East Euro-MP.

“Many people still aren’t feeling a recovery, but at least for once there is some good news to report.  We need to make sure that those who are in work are always better off than they would be on benefits, and one good way to start is with UKIP’s policy of no tax on minimum wage.”

UKIP North East Conference takes Hartlepool by storm

The UKIP North East Conference in Hartlepool over the weekend was a huge success. With hundreds of delegates in attendance, you couldn’t help but notice an atmosphere.

The event began with a packed-out Gala Dinner on the Friday evening, with UKIP leader Nigel Farage MEP in fine form. Several members turned up rather late on the Saturday morning, and for the record we would like to confirm that this has nothing whatsoever to do with the consumption of alcohol.

The Saturday morning session saw Phillip Broughton do his usual motivational speech, and as the local PPC for Hartlepool he was able to get members in the mood for more! With one minor hiccup over the sound system apart (though some might say that Suzanne Evans’ speech was so good it deserved to be heard twice), the speeches were of the highest quality.

Our local MEP Jonathan Arnott spoke of the ‘beating heart of UKIP’, of taking the fight to Labour in the North East of England and his personal determination to show what the Party truly stands for – rather than some of the smears in the media. Jonathan had lost his voice due to illness, and joked that ‘Tristram Hunt probably wished that he had lost his voice on Question time on Thursday night’ – referring to the latest in a string of occasions on which the shadow Education Secretary had made a faux pas.

Next up, of course, was UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP – and what can be said of him other than it’s never a good idea to miss his speeches, delivered in tubthumping style? It was quickly becoming clear that the aim to take on Labour in its heartlands would be a theme of this Conference. Nigel gave the ambitious suggestion that UKIP could come second in every seat, hinted that we might win in Hartlepool – and possibly pull off surprises elsewhere.

The theme of ‘UKIP v Labour in the North’ is perhaps illustrated best by UKIP’s Deputy leader Paul Nuttall MEP, who is standing in Bootle – Labour’s second-safest seat in England. By contrast, our MEP Jonathan Arnott in Easington is standing in the third-safest. Paul’s speech was one of the most passionate of the day and certainly served to wake the Conference up after lunch. Also from the North West, Louise Bours MEP exploded a few Labour myths about UKIP NHS policy. After all, it was Labour’s PFI scheme which brought the majority of current private finance into the NHS. And it’s UKIP who are campaigning against it.

Nathan Gill MEP (Wales), David Coburn MEP (Scotland) and Bill Etheridge MEP (West Midlands) gave impassioned speeches on a diverse range of issues. Each has their own style – from Nathan’s quiet confidence to David’s rabble-rousing via Bill’s anti-political correctness common sense.  John Bickley, who as our candidate for the Heywood & Middleton by-election came staggeringly close to joining Douglas Carswell in Parliament, spoke about his campaign experience.

On a more local note, throughout the day local candidates gave their thoughts to the Conference and were well received. Cllr. Norman Dennis gave a superb speech on winning a Council seat in South Shields in the morning. Melanie Hurst explained how the Party should pitch for the female vote, and Johnny Leathley gave a rundown on the growth of Young Independence. The Conference did retain a ‘local’ theme throughout, with John Tennant, Chris Gallacher, Mandy Boylett and Nigel Coghill-Marshall all chairing sessions.

UKIP Easington Public Meeting – 24th of Feb 2015. Featuring Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP Easington are holding a public meeting in Horden Catholic Club, (South terrace, Peterlee, SR8 4NQ) at 7:30 PM on the 24th of February.

UKIP Easington PPC Jonathan Arnott MEP and UKIP Employment Spokesman Jane Collins MEP will both be speaking and participating in a Q&A.

This meeting is open to the public as well as UKIP members. For more information please contact mail@ukipeasington.org

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Supporting local businesses

Last week I was invited to visit Egger and toured the facility alongside our fantastic local Hexham  PPC, David Nicholson.   Thank you to Egger for a very interesting visit, it is always a pleasure to meet with local constituents and businesses and find out how I can be of assistance through my role as an MEP.

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Jonathan Arnott MEP welcomes local Labour Mayor to UKIP

The Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Cllr Colin Race, has today decided to leave the Labour Party and join UKIP.

The announcement was made in a town council meeting earlier this evening.

Mr Race stated he has voted Labour “ever since he was old enough”, but now feels UKIP are the only party in British politics that supports hard working families.

Cllr Race said “Year-on-year it has become increasingly clear that Labour are neglecting voters and taking us all for granted. The Labour Party that I once knew – the party that stuck up for the working families, is no more. We have a cosy consensus of politicians in Westminster who spend more time patting each other on the back, than representing the people who pay their wages at the end of the month. Here in the North East we have the highest rates of unemployment in the country, how are my kids meant to get a job when our political class support open door mass immigration from twenty-seven other EU member states?”

UKIP’s North East MEP, Jonathan Arnott, added “I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Cllr Colin Race, to UKIP’s peoples’ army. Labour party members across our region are simply realising that the incredibly wealthy individuals who sit at the top of the Labour party don’t, and make no attempt to, work for hard-working, law-abiding citizens across the country. Only UKIP are offering a sensible, credible alternative to the Labour party who have neglected the North East for years.”