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Politics

EU the focus of Question Time

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‘The opposition to Labour in Wales’: Neil Hamilton

‘The opposition to Labour in
Wales’: Neil Hamilton

LOCAL ASSEMBLY member and UKIP’s leader in the Senedd Neil Hamilton appeared on BBC’s Question Time on Friday (Jun 2).

When asked by an audience member whether leaving the EU would increase her chances of getting on the property ladder or decrease them,

Mr Hamilton claimed that the principle driver for the increase in property values over recent years was ‘massive uncontrolled levels of immigration’.

“We’re adding to our population every single year, according to the Government’s official figures, a third of a million people. So we’re adding a city the size of Cardiff to the population of the UK every single year.

“If you increase the demand for property while supply remains largely constant, then prices are bound to increase.”

Mr Hamilton did acknowledge that there were other reasons for house prices being so high, including ‘restrictions on planning etc’ but said that it was ‘principally a population problem.’

However, Guardian columnist Owen Jones ‘strongly rejected’ the idea that immigration was a result of house price increases or the EU. “We let the Government off the hook when we blame foreigners for our government failing to build the houses we need,” he added.

Liz Truss recognised that there was ‘an issue’ with housing, and agreed that it was a UK Government policy issue.

Labour Out representative Frank Field MP said that he hoped no one would vote based on a George Osborne economic assertion.

In response to another question about housing and immigration, Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts managed a rather pointed dig at Mr Hamilton, AM for Mid and West Wales and Wiltshire resident.

“Speaking as the only person on the panel who lives in a house in Wales, I’d also like to note with some dismay that the only Welsh Assembly Member here kicked off on immigration, and that housing is actually a devolved matter and I would have expected some reference to that.”

She also suggested that immigration was not as much of a problem as migration, claiming that the factor of second homes was an issue, along with aging housing stock and a shortage of social housing.

In response to an audience member who asked whether it was true that no one knew what effect leaving the EU would have, given that no one had done it before, Ms Truss agreed. However, Mr Field, while agreeing that no one knew what the consequences would be, suggested that perhaps voters should take a more instinctive approach.

“I don’t believe that this reciting of facts, which no one knows whether they are true… on referendum day you are not going to make up your mind based on some politician giving you a whole series of facts,” he claimed.

“Our Very being has prepared us for this day, our history our backgrounds, our knowledge and we’ll be making a decision about the destiny of our country. And while of course we have to go through this poetry of politicians thinking they are important and boring you with programmes and facts… I don’t think sets of facts are going to help anyone do that.”

The questioner pointed out that no one was able to give any guarantees about the future, to which Owen Jones responded that workers’ rights were largely protected by the EU, and he further suggested that these rights ‘would burn on a bonfire lit by new Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnston.’

The panel was asked whether were they not in the EU, they would advocate joining, considering it was ‘corrupt and riddled with fraud. Ms Truss suggested that we had the best of both worlds at present, and a new country would struggle to negotiate such favourable terms.

One audience member said that we were not in a good position regarding Europe when ‘we have 28 unelected bureaucrats telling us how to run our country. It was also pointed out that any post-Brexit negotiations would involve the free movement of people.

Mr Hamilton said that unless we regained control of our borders we would not be able to control the flow of immigration.

However, Ms Saville Roberts said that the Labour Party had allowed immigration to become ‘a toxic subject’ and suggested that non-EU refugees from conflict zones made up a large proportion of inward migration.

Mr Field said that pressures had been put on wages and public services ‘since Labour opened the border in 2004.’ He also suggested that immigration had led to a million voters deserting the Labour Party for UKIP.

Mr Jones pointed out that many of the Vote Leave supporters who are referencing the NHS were ‘ideologically opposed’ to the existence of an NHS, quoting Mr Hamilton, who memorably described the NHS as ‘a more effective killing machine than The Taliban’.

The leadership of Jeremy Corbyn was, predictably, called into question, and it was asked whether he could be doing more to lead Labour in the Remain camp, given that 45% of Labour voters don’t know which side their party supports.

Mr Field suggested that a Leave vote would mean a change of Prime Minister, and suggested that the Labour Party had failed to show that it was ‘on the side of those who have the least in society.’

Neil Hamilton suggested that UKIP was currently the opposition to the Labour Party in Wales (ignoring the Welsh Conservatives) and, continuing his ‘unique’ approach to political metaphor, suggested that Plaid Cymru were ‘in bed with the Labour Party’.

In a debate which occasionally verged on the childish, Mr Hamilton also said that David Cameron was “a pretty pointless individual, he’s had about as much influence on events as a cork bobbing on the water, he just goes whichever way the tide goes.

“In a brief moment of candour after he became Tory leader, amazingly now 10 years ago, he let the cat out of the bag saying he was the ‘Heir to Blair’.

“I think the tragedy of David Cameron is that he doesn’t have many strong views on anything. I went into politics because I am motivated by strong beliefs.”

Mr Hamilton also gave a rather guarded argument when his troubled relationship with Nigel Farage was brought up: “I am as fond of him as he is of me,” he stated.

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Politics

Important information arriving ahead of elections

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IMPORTANT information about the Senedd and Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May will be landing on all Pembrokeshire doormats this week.

Both the Senedd and Police and Crime Commissioner elections will be held on Thursday, May 6.

The letters will ensure electoral records are correct, detail how to add/change any entries and urge those who are not registered to do so before the deadline of midnight, Monday 19th April.

Please read the letter and check the details are up to date and only contact the Council if necessary.

You can register to vote at: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

For the first time, those who will be aged 16 or over on 6th May and are registered to vote can vote in the Senedd elections.

Foreign citizens who will be aged 16 or over on 6th May and are registered to vote can also take part in the Senedd elections.

For the Police and Crime Commissioner elections those aged 18 and over on 6th May who are registered to vote can cast their vote.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may wish to consider your voting options.

Polling stations will be open and will have undergone extensive preparations as well as ongoing monitoring to ensure that they are safe environments to cast your vote.

However, it is likely that more people than ever will wish to take up an option for a postal vote for the elections on 6th May.

Given the anticipated demand, please apply for a postal vote as early as possible to allow the Council’s elections team plenty of time to be able to process your application.

You can apply for a postal vote or proxy vote (someone you trust to cast your vote on your behalf) at: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter

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News

MS summoned to Court over tweet

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PLAID CYMRU’s Mid & West Wales Regional Senedd Member Helen Mary Jones has been summoned to appear at Swansea Crown Court.

HHJ Paul Thomas QC ordered Ms Jones to court after she retweeted a third-party’s post which expressed the hope a defendant in an ongoing murder trial would be convicted.

The tweet referred to the trial of 70-year-old Anthony Williams, who killed his wife shortly after the start of the first lockdown in March last year.

Mr Williams had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

However, while the trial was ongoing, a domestic violence campaigner tweeted:: “Another perp using the ‘I just snapped’. It is complete b******t! As so many of us will know, there would have been history of domestic abuse.
“I hope this jury finds him guilty of murder. Rest in peace, Ruth.”
On Saturday, before the jury returned its verdict, Ms Jones shared the tweet.

There was no history of domestic abuse and no suggestion of it was raised during Mr Jones’ trial.

When the Jury returned to Court on Monday, HHJ Paul Thomas said: “It’s come to my attention that, over the weekend, there have been some highly inappropriate comments made on social media about this case.
“I should make it abundantly clear that those comments have not come from anybody connected with the case and, having been shown the contents of one such piece of social media, they clearly don’t have any idea about the evidence in this case or the issues in this case.”
None of the jurors saw the offending post and continued their deliberations.

On Monday afternoon, the jury acquitted Mr Williams of murder.

By retweeting the remarks made by a third party, the risk existed that the jury could have been influenced and their decision-making compromised.

On Thursday, Helen Mary Jones will have the chance to explain her actions to Judge Thomas in person.

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News

UKIP politicians vow to overturn new smacking ban in Wales

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UKIP Wales has announced that it is committed to repealing the Welsh Government’s controversial ‘Smacking Ban’ ahead of the Senedd Elections, and that this will become part of its manifesto in Wales.

The ban on reasonable chastisement was introduced in January 2020 by Labour’s Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan. The legislation removes the defence of “reasonable punishment” in cases of common assault.

UKIP Leader and Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales, Neil Hamilton, said: “Parents know what is best for their children, not politicians. Members of the Senedd need to get a foot in the real world, outside the Cardiff Bay Bubble and listen to the public.

“[The ban] received huge criticism when it was railroaded through the Senedd against public opinion. When consulted, up to 75% of parents in Wales opposed the restrictions that prohibited them from reasonably disciplining their children.

“The policy is practically impossible to enforce and is estimated to cost the taxpayer £8 million. It is another example of the Cardiff Bay politicians overextending themselves and forcing their own virtue-signalling morality on to the people of Wales.

“Senedd politicians from all parties have forgotten they are not the boss – the public are. As Members of the Senedd, their job is to represent their constituents not police how parents bring up their children.

“The Government must do everything possible to protect children from physical and psychological abuse. But this legislation has done, and will continue to do, nothing to stop cases of serious abuse. Instead, it penalises parents who take reasonable steps to discipline their children.

“In this year’s Senedd Elections, UKIP is standing up for parents to raise their children free from interference from an overarching, self-righteous political class in Cardiff.”

Pembrokeshire-based UKIP councillor Paul Dowson said: “In my opinion this is plain and simple common sense. It has cost the taxpayer 8 million pounds for a bill which is simply unenforceable.

“This over-woke labour Welsh government made up of out of touch ministers have no right to tell the public how to discipline their children.

“The latest generation have recently gone through the education system where there are no serious consequences for bad behaviour, the parents have been restricted regarding punishing bad behaviour, and the curriculum promotes 99 different genders along with a whole host of other WOKE topics above common sense and basic respect.
“Our future begins with our children and we need to be allowed to discipline our kids in a way which we see fit even if it does include a smack on the ass when required.

“The sooner we regain control of society the better.

“No better place to start than with bringing our children up properly instead of following the Drakeford formula. His own son is a prime example of poor parenting.”

Cllrs Dowson’s view is at odds with the NSPCC. The children’s protection charity said in a press release: “This is a remarkable achievement which closes an outdated loophole and finally gives children in Wales the same legal protection from assault as adults.”

Conservative AM Ms Finch-Saunders said: “With this bill the state is now stepping into the private lives of families”.

She added: “Through the involvement of the police and social services… this smacking ban this will potentially have far reaching consequences for us all.”

Julie Morgan, Deputy Social Services Minister, said it was a “historic day” after members passed the law with 36 votes for, 14 against.

Ms Morgan had campaigned for years for a ban and had broken the Labour whip over the issue when the Welsh Government did not support it, in 2015.

She said at a press conference after the vote: “This is not about the government telling parents how to raise their children or about criminalising loving parents,”

She added the government had listened to the “vocal minority” who opposed the move, but that removing the defence of reasonable punishment “is the right thing to do”.

“The children of Wales now have the same protection as adults in Wales have.”

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