Thanks to UKIP North Tyneside for a great evening

Last night I spoke at UKIP North Tyneside’s latest public meeting with my UKIP colleague Blair Smillie.   Thank you to the North Tyneside team for organising such a great evening!

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Jonathan Arnott MEP criticises “culture of disbelief” over rape cases

–   UKIP MEP claims a ‘culture of disbelief’ exists among some of our region’s police forces surrounding rape.

–   The Euro MP welcomes independent scrutiny panel which seeks to ‘shine a light’ on the way Durham police force investigates reported cases of rape.

 

A ‘culture of disbelief’ exists among some police forces in the North East surrounding rape, according to UKIP’s North East Euro MP, Jonathan Arnott.

The claim came as the MEP welcomed an independent rape scrutiny panel which is seeking to ‘shine a light’ on the way Durham police force investigates reported cases of rape, and improve police practice.

Its findings will then be presented to police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and external agencies.

Last month, Northumbria Police announced that nearly a third of rape cases that had previously been dismissed by the police force are now being reopened.

An audit previously said some rape cases may have been incorrectly recorded as a ‘no crime’.

Cleveland Police also said it would reopen 14 such cases from recent years, after an audit highlighted the same issue with the force.

Mr Arnott said “There has been a culture of disbelief for too long surrounding rape, which is why I welcome the independent rape scrutiny panel to make sure that victims are not denied justice for one of the most serious types of crime imaginable.

“Both Northumberland and Cleveland police forces have announced recently that they are reopening cases which they incorrectly recorded as ‘no crimes’. Together, police forces across our region need to send out a clear message that reported cases of rape will be dealt with seriously”.

Analysis of data earlier this year by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary showed that almost 1,500 allegations of rape were classified by police forces last year as “no crimes”.

Arnott added “We need to ensure victims of rape have every confidence in the criminal justice system, and this independent scrutiny panel is a step in the right direction”.

Jonathan Arnott MEP at the UKIP North West Conference

Last weekend I spoke at UKIP’s North West Conference in Southport. Well done to the North West team for organising such a fantastic day.

UKIP - Southport 8.11.14

UKIP - Southport 8.11.14

UKIP - Southport 8.11.14

UKIP - Southport 8.11.14

Labour MP Embroiled in ‘Blackmail Smear’ Row

 ·   UKIP Candidate in Stockton North received vile letter from current Labour MP

·  Accuses the Jewish mother of two of supporting anti-semitism, racism and violent misogyny

The UKIP Parliamentary Candidate for Stockton North, Mandy Boylett, has received a threatening letter from current Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, in which he insinuates he plans to smear her campaign with accusations of supporting anti-semitic and extreme views.

Mrs Boylett, a Jewish mother of two whose own father was a German refugee fleeing the Holocaust during World War II, says she is shocked and deeply disturbed by the actions of the MP, whose vile letter she received earlier this week.

In the letter, Alex Cunningham states that UKIP has joined forces with the Polish Congress of the New Right Party in the European Union, a matter that is totally untrue and has been very publically condemned by UKIP following an attempted smear by political opponents. The Party’s leader Janusz Korwin-Mikke, to whom Alex Cunningham attributes a selection of extreme views, is an MEP but not a member of the group in which UKIP sits, the EFDD – which demonstrates that the accusation is totally perverse.

The MP goes on to tell the candidate that in standing for UKIP she ‘will publicly defend Mr Janusz Korwin-Mikke’s comments with regard to “n*****s”, Hitler and rape’

“I felt so intimidated and so personally offended by his letter. I simply cannot believe a current MP would resort to this level of behaviour against another electoral candidate. The fact that the Labour Party are using a borderline blackmail smear attempt to threaten another candidate shows just what depths these people are willing to stoop to.

“I am Jewish woman, a mother and a staunch believer in democracy. We know that the very nature of the European Parliament means that there are many unsavoury characters within the four walls. The Labour Party know this very well after organising a summer camp for junior members with the Party of European Socialists where gay delegates were threatened with violence. It’s a very good reason why we need to get Britain out of that institution.

“But for an MP to get his facts so grossly wrong, or worse still, deliberately twist reality to attack a candidate from another party like this, frankly you have to question whether he is fit for office.​

“I am really, really hurt but it has resolved me to work even harder to get this sort of self-serving, cruel-natured character out of British politics. This is no way for a politician to behave.”

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott responds to EU Court of Auditors annual report

UKIP MEP and member of European Parliament Budget Control Committee, Jonathan Arnott today said:

“The auditors’ report shows that last year’s massive increase in errors and fraud in the EU budget was no one-off but part of a systemic failure.

We’ve got multinationals claiming small business relief, farms claiming buildings as grazing land and officials pocketing 5 times the going rate for their jobs.

The EU’s budget is now riddled with an error rate of almost 5%. That’s three times as much money as the UK is being expected to hand over to the EU on December 1st.

Any small business acting in such a manner would be closed down, but apologists for the EU look the other way when confronted with the evidence of mismanagement and fraud.”

EU accounts fail audit for 19th year in a row

For the 19th year in a row, the EU’s Court of Auditors has refused to give a clean bill of health to the EU’s accounts for the year ending 31st December 2013. The EU’s Court of Auditors registered an ‘adverse opinion’ about the legality and regularity of EU payments, blasting them as being “materially affected by error” – with almost €7 billion being paid out improperly.

With multinationals claiming small business relief, farms claiming buildings as grazing land and officials pocketing 5 times the going rate for their jobs, I wonder whether people realise just how bad the situation is in terms of mismanagement of the EU’s funds – at a time when Britain is being asked to hand over an additional €2.1 billion to the European Union within weeks?

The official error rate is 4.7% for 2013 (with rural development and regional policy completely out of control at almost 7%), roughly holding steady after a huge increase the previous year.  In actual fact, errors are higher – around 6.3% of the budget – but 1.6% had been rectified.  At today’s Budgetary Control Committee meeting in the European Parliament, I was handed a copy of a monster 319-page report.  It was the Court of Auditors’ annual report on the financial year 2013 – available online athttp://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/AR13/AR13_EN.pdf

So far I’ve picked out just a few of the most shocking pieces of information from that document.  Bear in mind that these (and 14 further cases of fraud) have been found in a small sample of all EU projects:

  1. EU money spent on IT equipment in Africa was claimed to have been given to the lowest bidder, but that just wasn’t true.  The Commission’s auditor didn’t even spot the problem. (p206)

    2.  A legal training firm claimed using incorrect hourly rates, claiming subcontracting costs as though they were regular employees, and declaring costs for periods of time that weren’t part of the project. More than a quarter of such projects had illegible costs. (p221)

    3.  The Commission signed a contract for a French legal expert, who was paid 98,000 euros for advisory service in Tunisia, in breach of the financial regulations. (p207)

    4.  The Commission accepted millions of foreign aid expenditure to Moldova which hadn’t actually been incurred. (p207)

    5.  In Romania officials were paid 5 times the usual salary, but no action was taken because the rules were unclear. (p185)

    6.  Illegal awards were made under the Regional development fund in Germany and 5 other countries.  (p148)

    7.  In Latvia the body responsible for checking that EU aid is genuine itself claimed €2 million in ineligible aid (p118).

    8.  In Poland, a farmer was given payments for early retirement support despite being of pension age (p114).

  2. Multinational companies in Portugal claimed €500,000 of EU aid aimed at small businesses. Similar problems were found in FIFTEEN other countries (p112; p25, EU Audit in Brief).

    10.  An Italian company was paid not to use harmful plant protection products, but it used them at least twelve times. (p112)

    11.  In 10,000 cases in Italy aid was granted for land which was excluded from such aid (p89).

  3. In Ireland, farms claimed subsidies for grazing land.  Some so-called ‘grazing land’ had buildings and roads built on it, and couldn’t possibly be used for grazing.  This was found in four out of the six farms randomly surveyed (p88).
  4. In Greece and 5 other countries land covered in trees, shrubs and bushes was claimed as grassland (p84).

    14.  Errors in French and British trade with Germany have been simply ignored for 15 months (p64).

    15.  In Holland, 90% of monies involved in fraudulent activity in textile imports haven’t been reclaimed (p63).

Defenders of the European Union usually point to the fact that a lot of money is spent in the member states, and say that it’s the member states’ responsibility to police the problem.   They act as though the Commission is a blameless victim of national governments’ incompetence.

Well that was certainly true today!  Speaker after speaker on the Committee lambasted national governments for not doing more.  They’re probably right that national governments don’t police EU funding well enough, but it’s also fair to say that they’re the ones bearing the brunt of having to interpret complex EU rules.

But the Commission also routinely ignores instructions from the Court of Auditors.  For example (p70), the Court of Auditors criticised them for ignoring last year’s recommendations for improvement.  The Commission declined to even comment.  In fact 21% of all of the Court of Auditors’ recommendations (p17, EU Audit in Brief) were completely ignored by the Commission, and many others were only partly implemented.

But whilst they’re aiming their bullets at national governments, is the record of the European Union itself really okay – or are they just seeking to deflect criticism?  For projects directly administered by the Commission, the error rate is still 3.7%.  Yes, it’s a tiny bit lower than the overall error rate but that’s to be expected because there’s one less tier of administration.  So when the pro-EU lobby blames member states, they’re doing nothing more than using it as a way to muddy the waters.  The fact is that the system itself is broken and unreformable.  There’s even a 1% error rate within the EU’s own expenditure.

The EU’s budget will always be mismanaged; the system and procedures are so complex that they are open to large-scale abuse and fraud.  Far better, surely, not to send money to Brussels in the first place and then apply to receive a small portion of that money back with strings attached?  We want to be good neighbours with Europe and to trade freely with Europe, but outside the EU trading freely with the globe.  European government does not work, will not work and can never work.