UKIP Defence spokesman Bill Etheridge has called for European nations to increase their spending on defence.
The call comes as news emerged that the UK had failed to meet its pledge of 2% after an increase in GDP.
European leaders in Brussels received a warning from US Defence secretary Jim Mattis that allies must significantly increase their defense spending “if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance”.
Such has been the decline in spending since the break-up of the Soviet Union that the Belgian military was forced to ask the U.S. for hand-me-down flak jackets for its soldiers when it deployed domestically in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels in recent years.
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said “With the twin threats of Islamic fundamentalism and a resurgent Russia, it is imperative that all NATO nations meet or exceed the agreed 2%.
“We have a crisis in Armed Forces recruitment despite government protestations there is no problem. We have a severe lack of heavy artillery, of operational submarines, carriers without aircraft and insufficient infantry fighting vehicles.
“The UK should not be in a position where an uplift in GDP means we miss our 2% target. We should be spending much more than that because we have a ground to make up after years of deficiencies.
“Unfortunately after years of Blairite internationalism where we send our troops to everyone else’s conflicts and the mistaken belief that spending billions on foreign aid is better than defence spending, we have insufficient numbers of armed forces who are not properly equipped, and a Defence procurement system which is not fit for purpose.”
UKIP Fisheries Spokesman, Mike Hookem MEP, has blasted “desperate attempts” by MEPs to “grab” UK fish stocks following Brexit saying, “UK waters and fish stocks must return to UK control, post-Brexit.”
Memos leaked to a British newspaper state that “MEPs have drafted seven provisions to be included in Britain’s “exit agreement”, including the stipulation that there will be “no increase to the UK’s share of fishing opportunities for jointly fished stocks*.”
Speaking of the leaked memos, Hull-born MEP, Mr Hookem said, “This is nothing more than the EU wanting to have their cake and eat it. Time and again we are told the UK will not get any ‘special deals’ post-Brexit. Well, in that case, it should work both ways, and UK waters must return to UK control regardless of what the EU want!”
“In 1973 the Government sold out the fishing industry. This cannot be allowed to happen again. Under the terms of paragraph three of Article 50, all treaties including the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will “cease to apply” to the UK, and Britain’s waters will be protected by a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under international law. This will mean that there will not such thing as “jointly fished stocks” when we leave the EU.
“Anything less than getting back full control of our waters post-Brexit will be another utter betrayal of the fishing industry. Fishermen knew in 1972 that their industry had been stolen from them by politicians desperate to get into the EEC ‘club’ and Brexit is our opportunity to retake control our waters.
“A recent report stated that the British fishing industry could be worth as much as £6.3 billion to the UK economy in the post-Brexit age, and what is needed are solid plans to capitalise on that, not use the fishing industry as a bargaining chip for concessions in other areas of the negotiations.”
“Essentially, this makes Fishing the acid test of whether we are going to get full control of our country back following Brexit or let the EU continue to dictate to us.
“However, it is not unexpected that the EU would make a grab for UK fish stocks when you consider that we currently have billions of pounds’ worth of fish caught in UK waters by EU vessels.
“It is obvious they would be desperate to cling on to that, but it is up to our elected politicians to make sure that does not happen.”
A paper released today by the UKIP Parliamentary Resource Unit (PRU) concludes that while Britain is right to support the development of poorer countries, prioritising foreign aid payments over our own public services is not an effective use of public resources. The paper, Rethinking Aid, Freeing Trade, by Simon Gordon, recommends phasing out development aid and repealing the Act that commits UK aid spending to 0.7% of GNI.
Having broken down aid spending in some detail, Gordon has been able to demonstrate that a significant portion of the budget is not spent on either emergency or development aid; is abused to fund political advocacy which harms developing nations; and that Britain’s multi-lateral aid partners rack up huge administrative costs.
Moreover, Gordon notes that development aid has largely failed to relieve long-term poverty – a fact which calls the original basis for the 0.7% aid target into question. He says:
“Development aid has not proven to be an effective means by which to promote economic development in poorer countries. The economic assumptions behind the 0.7% target have proved inaccurate. In some cases, aid can arguably make matters worse by perpetuating poor government; limiting the potential for change in developing countries to come from within; and therefore perpetuating poverty. In some cases, aid payments even go to organisations acting in direct opposition to British foreign policy.”
The paper recommends reducing foreign aid to £2.5 billion per annum to enable allowing the UK to deliver emergency and humanitarian aid; contribute to disease eradication; and enable the government to increase spending on stretched public services here in the UK. Rethinking Aid, Freeing Trade also advocates pursuing free trade agreements with developing countries post Brexit, via minimal and simple tariff regimes, in contrast to the current and complex EU tariff regime which puts up barriers to trade; is highly protectionist; and tends to punish poorer countries for economic growth.
UKIP Foreign Aid Spokeswoman, Lisa Duffy says: “I welcome this research by the UKIP PRU. For too long, our government has prioritised ineffective aid spending over its basic obligations to British citizens. That has to change, not just so we can help those struggling in our own country, but so we can act in the best interests of developing nations too.
“As this paper shows, an increasing body of evidence suggests that more aid is not the best path to prosperity for developing countries, but that more trade is.
“Decades of development aid have failed to grow poorer economies, but post-Brexit free trade deals will. It’s time to ditch the out-dated 0.7% aid spending target; relieve global poverty with a hand up, not a hand out; make cutting trade barriers with the developing world a priority; and fill the funding gaps in our own public services.”
UKIP Fisheries Spokesman calls for unknown “Daddy” convention of the Common Fisheries Policy to be scrapped
UKIP Fisheries Spokesman, Mike Hookem MEP, has today called on Theresa May and David Davis to scrap a little-known, Pre-EU fishing agreement which offers EU vessels a “back door” to continue fishing in UK waters post-Brexit; saying, “This convention is the ‘daddy’ of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and must be revoked if we are to stand any chance of reclaiming the UK’s waters.”
The 1964 London Fisheries Convention – which predates by eight years the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) – was a Pre-EU agreement made between twelve European countries that gave flag vessels of each signatory nation the right to fish within the UK’s six to twelve-mile territorial limit.
However, under the terms of the convention, the UK can revoke this agreement by giving two years notice.
Describing the reclamation of the fishing industry as the “first serious test of Theresa May’s resolve on Brexit”, Mr Hookem said, “if this Government is serious about making a clean break from the EU and reclaiming our fishing grounds, the London Fishing Convention must be revoked.”
“Should the Convention be left in place, it will act as a ‘backdoor’ for EU vessels to continue fishing in British waters which currently costs this country £700 million a year on lost catch values alone.
“By not addressing this issue, it would indicate to me that the Government has no intention of returning UK waters to British control and could instead be planning to ‘sell-out’ British fishermen and continue with the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy.”
“From speaking to fishermen up and down the country, their biggest fear now is that the government will use the industry as a bargaining chip for concessions in other areas of Brexit.
“Therefore, I will be seeking assurances from David Davis that this is not the case and that the UK will fully withdraw from the CFP and return to administering its own 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“According to a recent report, the fishing industry has the potential to provide a £6.3bn boost to the UK economy following Brexit, which is more than the steel industry in this country is currently worth each year.
“I would hate to see the fishing industry sold down the river both on entry and exit from the EU! But if the Common Fisheries Policy is adopted into British Law as part of the Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill, that is exactly what will happen.”
UKIP MP Douglas Carswell will today put down an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons in a bid to stop an international treaty that will leave the UK subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, even when we have left the EU.
Douglas Carswell is objecting to what appears to be a stealth attempt by Ministers to sign up to the proposed Unitary Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) without anyone noticing, and without parliament having a vote on the matter.
Once ratified, the UPCA will establish a Unified Patent Court (UPC), a court to adjudicate exclusively on European patents, meaning it will settle all disputes relating to intellectual property in Europe. Once established, it also means the standards for British products and inventions will be set in Europe, not the UK. Anyone wishing to challenge a UPC ruling will have to appeal to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
UKIP in Parliament has discovered a video clip of a briefing by Kevin Mooney, the UK lawyer who has been working towards the creation of the UPC, in which he states he hopes the press ‘does not find out about’ the treaty.
Ministers appear to share his distaste for public scrutiny of the move. The Government has tabled it as ‘negative statutory instrument,’ meaning it will automatically go through parliament unless an MP formally objects, hence Douglas Carswell’s intervention.
Mr Carswell says “Leaving the EU should mean leaving the jurisdiction of the European courts, but if this proposal is allowed to pass, we would be required to accept the supremacy of EU law in its entirety with regard to any disputes within the jurisdiction of the UPC, including competition law, fundamental rights arising under the Charter, as well as any specific patent rules contained within EU Directives.
“How countries protect intellectual property is also often a key issue when negotiating trade deals, so allowing the EU to decide these matters for us will make it much harder for the UK to negotiate the free trade deals we need with big dynamic economies outside Europe.
“No wonder the Europhiles wanted to pass this into law under the radar, without proper debate. It has the potential to drive a huge stake into the heart of Brexit.”
Speaking in the Stoke Central constituency this morning, Gerard Batten MEP, and UKIP’s Spokesman on Brexit has urged the voters of Stoke to elect Paul Nuttall as their MP on 23rd Feb.
He said: “Labour stopped representing the working class a long time ago. Stoke Central needs Paul as their MP so that he can speak up for their interests and for the regeneration of Stoke-on-Trent.
“Brexit is in danger of being betrayed, and who better to demand a speedy exit from the EU in the House of Commons than than UKIP’s Leader.
“The 70% of Stoke’s voters who voted to leave the EU will endanger that decision if they elect another Labour MP.”
UKIP Leader and Stoke Central candidate Paul Nuttall said: “UKIP winning in Stoke Central will be game, set and match for Brexit.
“Every voter in the constituency has the opportunity to send a powerful signal to Remain MPs sitting in Leave constituencies that they’d better not attempt to frustrate the will of the people.”
UKIP defence spokesman, Bill Etheridge MEP, has blasted the government for their lack of spending on the Royal Navy as news emerged that the entire UK fleet of seven submarines is out of service.
The problem-hit Astute class, which has slowly been replacing the older Trafalgar class is built by BAE Systems, along with Type 45 Destroyers which break down in hot weather.
Only one submarine, HMS Astute, is at sea and she is having sea trials after a refit. She is said to be weeks away from being able to undertake missions.
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said “This story underlines two vital points that I have been making over the last few weeks. Firstly, that under-investment in our military capacity has left the cupboard bare – the slightest problem exposes the lack of back-up. Secondly, our defence procurement, headed by Tony Douglas, on a salary and bonus package in excess of £500k a year is definitely sub-standard.
“We now have ships that break down in warm water, aircraft carriers with no aircraft and not a single serviceable submarine.
“Quite honestly the man should do the honourable thing and resign. He has failed the troops, failed the tax-payer and failed the country!”
The full agenda has been finalised for our Spring Conference in Bolton next week and we are pleased to say that it is packed with the Party’s talent.
Within a single day – Friday, February 17 – to showcase the best we have to offer, on stage we will have our Leader, Paul Nuttall, our former leader, Nigel Farage, joined by our Assembly Members and raft of policy spokesmen.
There’s a load of media pushing for attendance and there should be a real buzz about the Macron Stadium. We’ll also have Expo and fringe events and in the evening, the massively popular gala dinner where we can all unwind, have a drink or two and swap battle plans for the journey to Stoke the next day – Saturday, February 18 – to help Paul Nuttall’s bid to win that crucial by-election on February 23.
So please, make sure you book your tickets now and encourage other members to do likewise as we head towards this momentous couple of days. We are really in place to make history, and we’d love you to be part of it.
We’ll see you next week!
Accident and emergency patients in England experienced the worst month of delays this winter in the 13 years since the four-hour target was introduced, a leaked document suggests. The figures, compiled by regulator NHS Improvement, also reportedly suggest a record high for people waiting more than 12 hours for a bed after being seen in A&E.
The target, introduced in 2004, states that 95% of patients must be seen and either admitted or discharged in under four hours. But the document suggests that of 1.4 million visits in January, only 82% were dealt with within the time frame – while more than 60,000 people waited for up to 12 hours for a bed after being told they must be admitted.
UKIP’s NHS Champion Suzanne Evans said, “Too many people attending A&E, combined with a shortage of emergency medicine consultants, difficulty in getting GPs appointments and chronic underfunding, was bound to lead to precisely this kind of crisis. The government’s 95% target for patients visiting A&E to be seen within four hours has been looking hopelessly unrealistic for some time.
“Simply telling people not to go to A&E is not the answer. Getting an urgent GP appointment – let alone an out-of-hours GP appointment – is becoming increasingly difficult, and it’s not always easy for patients to know what is or isn’t a genuine emergency. Parents of young children (who make up a considerable portion of A&E attendances) especially don’t want to take risks with their children’s health.
“No doubt many politicians will come up with easy soundbites in response to this crisis, but the truth is there are no easy answers and no quick fixes. The NHS has suffered for decades from poor policy making by both this and previous governments, as well as massive under-investment and a ‘targets and terror’ regime, all of which has heaped pressure upon pressure and sent staff scuttling for the door.
“The NHS needs significantly more money, more frontline staff, more hospital beds, a fully joined up health and social care service, and much better management with a clear and relentless focus on frontline priorities.
“None of this is going to happen overnight, however I am confident that our forthcoming exit from the EU provides an opportunity to help the NHS recover in many ways, not least by diverting a considerable portion of the money we will save from leaving into the NHS. I hope it will also spur investment into planning for the long term and training up more of our own medical staff, instead of the short term fix of simply plundering them from overseas; and herald the introduction of a health insurance requirement for visitors to the UK which will also help relieve the pressure.”