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Labour’s Naushabah Khan is writing to local UKIP defectors to ask if they agree with party leader Nigel Farage that UKIP could support a Conservative minority government after the next election.

The open letter, being sent today and published online, is addressed to former Tory MP Mark Reckless, and former Tory councillors Peter Rodberg and Chris Irvine who all switched to UKIP recently.

On October 12, 2014, Mr Farage told the Sunday Politics that he would support a Conservative government if they pledged to hold an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union.
 
In the letter Naushabah Khan writes: “Can I ask whether you agree with Nigel Farage and would support a deal with the Tories after the next election?
 
“Without a full denial people in Rochester & Strood will only conclude that UKIP is a party of Tory people, Tory policies and Tory money, more Tory than the Tories themselves.”

Ends.



The full text of the letter is below:


Dear Mr Reckless, Mr Rodberg and Mr Irvine,

I am writing to ask whether you agree with your leader Nigel Farage that UKIP could support a Conservative minority government after the next election.
 
On October 12 2014, Mr Farage told the Sunday Politics that he would support a Conservative government if they pledged to hold an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union.
 
It is hugely revealing of the character of your party that you are planning to prop up a Conservative government in 2015.
 
Working people have suffered under David Cameron. Wages are down £1,600 a year since 2010, there are almost 750,000 young people unemployed and a wasted £3bn re-organisation of the NHS has led to higher waiting lists for patients.  We now know that, instead of fighting this and standing up for hardworking families, UKIP are planning to help David Cameron finish the job.

This is perhaps unsurprising. Half of UKIP’s leadership are former Tories, as are a quarter of UKIP candidates.  UKIP is also bankrolled by the people who keep David Cameron in business, with 24 former tory donors giving over £2m to UKIP.  On policy, UKIP want to go further than the Tories by privatising the NHS, charging people to see their GP, give another tax cut to millionaires and have even bigger bankers’ bonuses.  
 
Can I ask whether you agree with Nigel Farage and would support a deal with the Tories after the next election?
 
Without a full denial people in Rochester & Strood will only conclude that UKIP is a party of Tory people, Tory policies and Tory money, more Tory than the Tories themselves.
 
Yours,
 
Naushabah Khan
Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate in Rochester & Strood
 
 
 
Background: calls for a Tory-UKIP pact
 
Notes for editors:

On October 12, 2014, Mr Farage told the Sunday Politics that he would support a Conservative government if they pledged to hold an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union:

“The price would be a full, free and fair referendum on our continued membership of the European Union…some time in July next year strikes me as a very good time to do this.”
Nigel Farage, Sunday Politics, 12 October 2014
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nigel-farage-says-ukip-would-prop-up-tories-in-next-government-in-return-for-eu-referendum-9789762.html


The Tories and UKIP have been moving towards a pact.
 
•         “I will not stand in a seat close to my father — we have a non-aggression pact. The test will be local radio. I won’t stand for a seat whereby you could be listening to William Cash and not know which it was.”
William Cash Jr., The Sunday Times, 19th October 2014, http://cda.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/newsreview/features/article1472408.ece
 
•         When I raise the prospect of Tory/Ukip pacts, Cash says he has also decided not to stand against the other Shropshire MPs: Paterson and Philip Dunne. “It’s a private thing. I’ve written to them to tell them I won’t stand against them. We have civilised relations.”
William Cash Jr., The Sunday Times, 19th October 2014, http://cda.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/newsreview/features/article1472408.ece
 
•         “I see us as all part of the same family. The worst thing we could do is see the Right of politics fracture. Nigel Farage has great charisma and has done something extraordinary in British politics. I’d like to see us work better together.”
Adam Afriyie, 14th October 2014, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tories-tatters-pm-faces-calls-4438341
 
•         “It would be better to have had part of the broader conservative family win than Labour. There’s a compelling logic to not dividing the small-c conservative vote.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, 14th October 2014, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tories-tatters-pm-faces-calls-4438341
 
•         Asked about the national picture, Tory MP Jacob Rees Mogg renewed calls for his party to make a pact with UKIP. He told the Times newspaper that the impact UKIP has had on the Labour vote in northern England had been encouraging. "We should think about what that means in terms of the UKIP-Conservative relationship because the Conservative family could win a majority on that basis," he said. "Otherwise, the only thing we manage is mutually-assured destruction."
BBC, 11th October 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29581058
 
•         A Tory MP has joined forces with the millionaire treasurer of the UK Independence Party to block the European Arrest Warrant in a move which will embarrass Prime Minister David Cameron. Jacob Rees-Mogg held talks with Stuart Wheeler, Ukip’s treasurer, at the House of Commons yesterday to discuss a judicial review to block the measure that allows Britons to be arrested and sent for trial oversees.
The Telegraph, 16th October 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/11165829/Conservative-MP-in-talks-with-Ukip-treasurer-about-blocking-European-Arrest-Warrant.html
 
•         “In an ideal world we wouldn’t cut each other’s throats. I don’t really see the point in people who agree with each other standing against each other.” … “I think it’s fair to say I agree with Nigel Farage and UKIP on virtually everything.”
Phillip Davies, BBC Sunday Politics, 19th October 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04l2vhb/sunday-politics-yorkshire-and-lincolnshire-19102014
 
•         "Seeing my old friend Mark Reckless in another party is sad. A devoted and patriotic MP, he has just taken the difficult decision to leave the Conservatives for Ukip. But the real sadness is that there should be two such parties in Britain, their rivalry retarding their shared objectives. Combined, the Conservative and Ukip vote comes to nearly half the national total. Yet, as things stand, Ed Miliband is likely to become Prime Minister with around 35 per cent support.”
Daniel Hannan, Breibart news, 29th September 2014, http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/29/Hannan-only-a-ukip-tory-pact

Answers Needed Over UKIP/Tory Pact – says Labour’s Naushabah Khan

Labour’s Naushabah Khan is writing to local UKIP defectors to ask if they agree with party leader Nigel Farage that UKIP could support a Conservative minority government after the next...

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Reading West, Victoria Groulef, has raised serious concerns at delays experienced by local disabled people who are trying to access vital help.

Disabled adults in Reading West constituency are currently being reassessed to come off Disability Living Allowance and onto the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but the assessment process and appeals have been hit by delays.

Nationally, almost 350,000 people applied for PIP in the first year of operating, but under 84,000 received a decision about whether they qualified for PIP. At the current rate of decision-making for PIP claimants (about 7,000 per month) it will take 42 years to clear Iain Duncan Smith’s backlog.

In Reading it’s believed 4,500 working age disabled people receiving DLA will be hit by delays/PIP reforms according to latest DWP statistics.

Victoria Groulef has been contacted by people who are still waiting for their payments to start.

'Real Anxiety and Hardship'

 

Victoria said: “The delays caused are causing real anxiety and in many cases serious hardship. I spoke to a lady in her 60’s. She is a fulltime carer for her husband who has a degenerative illness. Her husband applied for personal independence payment. Both worked for years and paid into the system.

“They waited just to get an assessment and then when they did her husband was refused PIP. The couple won the case at tribunal but are now still waiting for support.
 
“Another person waited many months for an assessment. As her award runs for only three years  even once it goes into payment she faces having to go through the whole process again very soon afterwards. These shocking local experiences of long delays are unacceptable.  

“I am also aware that many parents with disabled children are experiencing significant delays in getting Disability Living Allowance.  Many have been in touch to say they’ve had to wait up to six months rather than the suggested 6 weeks. We need the Government to step in now and take action to stop more disabled people and their families from experiencing the stress and hardship caused by this new system.”

Ends.


Notes for editors
 
Background

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working age (16-64 years of age) disabled people is being abolished by the Government.
  • New claimants must now seek Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which launched in April 2013. People receiving DLA are also set to be assessed for PIP. Existing DLA claimants will be moved off DLA as reviews are required, or from October 2015.
  • PIP delays
  • MPs spoke in a debate on DWP chaos on 30 June which included examples of PIP delays: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140630/debtext/140630-0002.htm#14063023000001
  • PIP is beset with delays. Almost 350,000 people applied for PIP in the first year of operating, but under 84,000 received a decision about whether they qualified for PIP.
  • At the current rate of decision-making for PIP claimants (about 7,000 per month) it will take 42 years to clear Iain Duncan Smith’s backlog.
  • PIP costing more
  • PIP was set to save £2 billion in this Spending Review period. But the £127 million per year cost for the assessment process and severe delays are adding costs to the taxpayer. DLA/PUIP spending is £1.4 billion more than projected this year and delays/rising costs in this and other reforms put the Government’s welfare expenditure cap at risk.
  • The National Audit Office considered PIP progress in 2014 and highlighted a £140 million shortfall in savings already, as well as stating: “in the current Spending Review period to April 2015, the DWP will not achieve the savings it originally expected” and “because it may take some time to resolve delays the Department has increased the risk that the programme will not deliver value for money in the longer term”.

 

Local Disabled People Are Waiting Too Long For Vital Help, says Labour’s Victoria Groulef

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Reading West, Victoria Groulef, has raised serious concerns at delays experienced by local disabled people who are trying to access vital help.

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A survey about GP waiting times and the state of the health service in Rochester & Strood has been launched by Labour’s Naushabah Khan following warnings of GP shortages across the country.

Naushabah Khan, Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Rochester and Strood, says with almost 40,000 people waiting over a week to see their GP in the Medway area, falling standards need to be highlighted and addressed.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has identified up to 600 practices across the country where more than 90% of the GPs are aged 60 or over, many of whom will retire over the next 12 months.

The RCGP has also highlighted concerns that more and more GPs will suffer burnout as they struggle to keep up with the pressure of ever-growing numbers of patients.

Naushabah Khan said: “For a while now I’ve been hearing people say it’s getting harder to see their doctor and the forecast from the Royal College of GPs suggests the problem is only going to get worse.

“We know the health service is not working here, the Medway Maritime Hospital has been told to make urgent improvements, patients are waiting too long to see a GP and our hardworking doctors are not getting the support they need.

“I hope people will find the time to fill in our survey as their stories will help us get the necessary evidence to start putting things right and to stop the Conservatives denying there’s a problem.”

Seven Day Waits

The survey was launched in Strood High Street on Saturday 4th October and it will soon be available online.

Earlier this year research revealed that 37,015 people in the Medway area waited seven days or longer to see a GP the last time they tried.

The annual NHS England survey also revealed that over 50,000 – or 41% of people who have a preferred GP in the Medway CGC - had to see another doctor when they last went to their surgery.

Labour has pledged £2.5bn of extra funding for the NHS and made a commitment to recruit 8000 more GPs, guaranteed appointments within 48 hours or on the same day for those who need it would also come into force.

In contrast, the Conservatives scrapped Labour's GP appointment guarantee and cut support for evening and weekend opening when they came to power. UKIP have said they would charge people to see a GP.


Ends.


Notes for editors:

  • The Tories launched a top-down reorganisation of the NHS (which they promised they wouldn’t do), wasting £3bn and which has seen 7,000 frontline NHS staff axed. Under David Cameron's A&E crisis, waiting times are going up, as are waiting lists for crucial operations.
  • The Tories have started the process of privatizing the NHS – and that’s something UKIP welcome. Their deputy leader, Paul Nuttal, said, “I would like to congratulate the coalition government for bringing a whiff of privatisation into the beleaguered National Health Service.”
  • Now UKIP want increased privatisation and GP charging. UKIP want to go even further than the Tories by subsidising people who want to go private. On top of that, UKIP have proposed charging people to see their family doctor, as well as charging for other NHS services.
  • What you get with UKIP: charges to see your GP, even deeper cuts to your NHS, and increased privatisation.

 

NHS & GP Survey Launched by Labour in Rochester & Strood

A survey about GP waiting times and the state of the health service in Rochester & Strood has been launched by Labour’s Naushabah Khan following warnings of GP shortages across...

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