Ukip’s manifesto will set out plans to exclude foreign nationals from the right to buy their council houses, according to housing spokesman Andrew Charalambous
Ukip’s housing spokesman, who trousered a fortune renting houses to migrant tenants on benefits, pledged today that the party would exclude foreign nationals from the government’s Right To Buy scheme.
Multi-millionaire buy-to-let tycoon Andrew Charalambous made a chunk of his fortune renting out properties in areas of London with high migrant populations.
The party’s manifesto, due to be published at their Spring Conference at the end of February, will include a pledge to ban foreign nationals from buying council houses.
There would be an exception for those who have served in the armed forces.
Charalambous said: “Britain’s social housing stock is massively oversubscribed. It is neither sensible nor fair on British families on waiting lists for Right to Buy entitlements to apply to foreign nationals occupying council or housing association homes.
An investigation into Charalambous’ property firm Woodlands Estates Limited revealed he had received £745,315 in benefit cash through Haringey Council in 2013 – more than any other private landlord.
He admitted that many of his tenants were migrants – and that almost one in six of them had recently arrived in the UK.
Mr Charalambous’ Greek Cypriot father settled in the UK after fighting for Britain in World War II.
In a statement, he said: “We in UKIP want to create an immigration system that maximises the positive contribution migrants make to our economy and society. Allowing foreign nationals to buy scarce social housing does not accord with that principle and providing a discount when they do is even more of a nonsense.”
Charalambous defected from the Conservative Party in 2011, before making an unsuccessful bid to be the party’s first MP in the Feltham and Heston by election.
He had been a Tory activist since his early Teens, but left the party over differences on immigration, their handling of the NHS and resistance to his calls for St George’s Day to be made a national holiday.
Amjad Bashir describes Ukip as “pretty amateur” as he talks about his decision to switch parties.
I love this country and everything it stands for. England is in my blood – it’s my home, it’s where I made my livelihood, it’s where I raised my family, and it’s where I want future generations to thrive.
It’s the reason why, after a long career in business, I turned to the world of politics to campaign on issues I believe are necessary for the well-being of our great nation.
I wanted a referendum on Europe – to do away with all the bureaucracy and red tape stifling small businesses in the UK – and a controlled immigration system.
I joined Ukip thinking it was a movement dedicated to securing those goals. But I was wrong.
After almost three years as a party member – and seven months as MEP for Yorkshire and Humber – I realise that Ukip is more concerned with furthering its own interests as a political party, than delivering for the British people.
I choose the Conservatives. Not because I’ve changed my mind about Europe and immigration. I haven’t. But because only the Conservative Party can achieve an in/out referendum on Europe and a fair immigration system that works for Britain.
I’ve seen Ukip both at home, and abroad, and I’m sorry to say they’re pretty amateur. In the European Parliament, some of their MEPs think it’s acceptable to shout and fool around.
They don’t want to engage, they just want to ridicule.
But the joke’s on the British taxpayers who are forking out for their MEPs’ £80,000 salaries and getting nothing in return.
Ukip MEPs refuse to acknowledge Europe, so instead they let crucial votes that are harmful to British interests go unchallenged.
This happens day in, day out. It’s not right and it’s not fair.
Ukip haven’t properly thought through the implications of Brexit. There are of course several positive reasons for coming out of Europe. But I’m a pragmatist. Whichever side of the argument you’re on, you have to weigh up all the options.
Ukip made their minds up a long time ago that they wanted out no matter what. Even if they were offered endless supplies of gold from Europe they’d refuse it.
The truth is, Ukip would sooner risk the whole world looking on us as little Englanders than have a grown up debate about Europe.
As for Ukip’s policy, I’ve yet to see it. As their communities spokesman, I recently asked the man who’d been in charge of drawing up Ukip’s general election manifesto for the last year and a half: what policies do you have for me?
He brought out a page of A4 with about three lines on it. For a man on £60,000 a year to produce that is ridiculous. And I’m not the only person in the party who felt that way.
The problem with Ukip is that they think they’re a major party, when they’re not.
They think they’ll sweep up dozens of seats in May, but that’s delusional.
What they are in very real danger of doing, however, is making a big enough dent in the Conservative vote to let Labour in. And that would deny the British people a referendum.
Ukip have become so obsessed with what’s best for them as opposed to what’s good for the country that they’re actually willing to let this happen. This is what I find so galling.
I came to Ukip for the good of this country. I believe there’s a genuine question to be asked – whether we stay in or out of Europe.
I believe we need a referendum. I think Ukip has done its job in bringing that agenda to centre-stage. It’s a terrific achievement.
But now it’s clear that the appetite for political power has swayed them off course.
Where Ukip once campaigned in the interests of the British people, they have now become the party of ruthless self-interest.
My decision to switch my allegiance to the Conservative Party is not intended to cause any embarrassment for Ukip.
This is a principled decision out of deeply held beliefs for the good of this country.
Only the Conservative Party and the leadership of David Cameron will deliver a referendum on Europe and can offer strong immigration controls.
A vote for Ukip will only deliver a Labour Government, which will deny people a say on Europe and control over our borders.
Months away from the most critical general election of our generation, I feel I must do right by my country and support the Conservatives’ plan to secure a better future for Britain.
Nigel Farage is likely finding dry January pretty tough going.
This morning Ukip has been hit by a high-profile defection and a scandal involving one of their senior officials, who reportedly said they were a party that stood up for “bigots”.
Ukip Yorkshire and the Humber MEP Amjad Bashir announced his defection to the Conservative party on Saturday after meeting with David Cameron the previous day. Bashir claimed Ukip had a “ridiculous” lack of policies and were “pretty amateur”. But they said he had been “suspended” pending investigations into “serious” financial concerns – something Bashir told the BBC were “dirty tricks to try and discredit me”.
Separately the Sunday Times reported the party’s general secretary Matthew Richardson had called Ukip supporters bigots when asked about racist outbursts from some of the party’s candidates.
“I’ve said before, people talk about Ukip being bigots. There are hundreds of thousands of bigots in the United Kingdom and they too deserve representation,” he allegedly said in a meeting last month.
The paper notes Richardson was ironically appointed to Ukip in 2013 to help “put an end to the party’s series of public- relations gaffes and to prevent ‘bad stuff’ about Ukip from making it into the media”.
Richardson told the Sunday Times he had been quoting the late Tory MP Eric Forth, who once said “all this sucking up to minorities is ridiculous; there are millions of people in this country who are white, Anglo-Saxon and bigoted and they need to be represented”.
Richardson added: “This was clearly lighthearted harmless banter in the pub and does not reflect any seriously held belief.”
As well as his “bigot” comments, Sunday Mirror carries a video of Richardson’s 2010 speech to the Young America’s Foundation Conservative Student Conference in Washington where he called the NHS the heart of the “Reichstag bunker of socialism” that was Britain. At a separate speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in the same year he was recording saying it was the “biggest waste of money in the United Kingdom”.
A Ukip spokesperson said of Richardson: “He is a very talented barrister and does his job extremely well. He is not involved with the party’s press operation.” Referring to his NHS comments, they said he was “specifically talking about the growth of middle management which had not reflected a growth in health outcomes”.
Scots UKIP MEP David Coburn: Alex Salmond would now be hanging from lamppost if Scotland had voted YesPosted: January 25, 2015
IN an incendiary interview, Coburn said the plummeting price of oil meant the former First Minister would have paid the penalty had Scotland voted to go it alone.
SCOTLAND’S only UKIP politician has sparked fury by claiming Alex Salmond would be “hanging from a lamppost” if there had been a vote for independence.
MEP David Coburn said the falling oil price would have crashed a go-it-alone Scotland’s economy and predicted the public would have taken violent reprisals against Salmond and his successor as First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
In an incendiary interview he also branded the SNP a “racist party”, revealed UKIP would drop the Smith Commission plans for more Holyrood powers and repeatedly referred to Sturgeon as “Helmet Hairdo”.
The controversial MEP was a shock Scottish winner in the European Parliament elections last May and now represents Nigel Farage’s anti-immigration party in Brussels.
And Coburn’s stark comments on the SNP are set to spark a fresh headache for the UKIP leader.
The SNP today branded them “unbefitting of any elected representative”.
Salmond’s economic case for independence was based on a barrel of oil being worth around $110. Since the referendum the price has plummeted to under $50.
Economists have warned the tumbling tax revenues from the North Sea would have left a blackhole of up to £7 billion in an independent Scotland’s budget.
“If we had all voted Yes, Scotland would have its begging bowl out to England,” said Coburn.
“I am a proud Scot and the last thing I want to see is my country with a begging bowl out to anybody because of a bunch of economic numpties who don’t know anything about finance.
“Nobody can base an economy on a commodity price, it is insanity.
“And if it had happened – if Scotland had voted Yes – they’d be hanging Salmond and Helmet Hairdo and all her silly friends.
“They’d be stringing them up from lampposts in Charlotte Square by now.”
Coburn also denied allegations UKIP are racist and claimed that description was more accurate about the SNP.
“They just hate the English,” he said. “They loathe the English, they are racist and anti-English.”
And he also attacked the recommendations of the cross party Smith Commission on a new devolution settlement for Scotland.
“It forms the same purpose that I use Alex Salmond’s Neverendum manifesto, the White Paper,” he said.
“Shred it. Stick it on a nail on the back of the privy door, that’s all it’s fit for.”
A spokeswoman for the SNP condemned Coburn’s remarks.
“These comments are offensive and totally unbefitting of any elected representative – but they are unfortunately the kind of remarks we have come to expect from UKIP’s David Coburn,” she said.
“Mr Coburn and his UKIP party are Euro-hostile and have distasteful views on many subjects – it is no wonder they are going nowhere in Scotland.”
Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale added: “There is no place for this kind of outrageous language in modern Scottish politics.
“UKIP’s language of division and grievance should be a thing of the past. All of Scotland must come together to take our country forward.”
The Amjad Bashir suspension story is developing by the minute.
What is becoming clear is that he has / was about about to defect to The Conservative Party and has spoke to The Daily Telegraph claiming that UKIP had become a “party of ruthless self-interest” and that UKIP was incapable of delivering a referendum on membership of the EU.
Bashir went on to describe UKIP as “pretty amateur” and condemned its “ridiculous” lack of policies, saying the party was “delusional” over its chances of winning seats in the General Election in May.
Bashir says: “After almost three years as a party member, I realise that Ukip is more concerned with furthering its own interests as a political party than delivering for the British people.
“I’ve seen Ukip both at home, and abroad, and I’m sorry to say they’re pretty amateur. In the European Parliament, some of their MEPs think it’s acceptable to shout and fool around.”
“They think they’ll sweep up dozens of seats in May, but that’s delusional. What they are in very real danger of doing, however, is making a big enough dent in the Conservative vote to let Labour in.”
It’s not clear at the moment what came first, Amjad Bashir’s defection or suspension.
What is clear however is that there is one fewer UKIP MEP’s tonight.
Hope not Hate
Exclusive: Ukip’s chief spokesman on communities describes the party as “pretty amateur” and condemns its “ridiculous” lack of policies
One of the UK Independence Party’s most senior politicians has defected to the Conservatives in a major blow to Nigel Farage’s general election campaign.
Amjad Bashir, a Ukip MEP and the party’s leading Asian figure, told The Telegraph that Ukip had become a “party of ruthless self-interest” that was incapable of delivering a referendum on membership of the European Union.
In a damning broadside against his former colleagues, he described Ukip as “pretty amateur” and condemned its “ridiculous” lack of policies. He said the party was “delusional” about its chances of winning seats in May.
On Saturday night Ukip suspended Mr Bashir for alleged financial and employment irregularities.
A Ukip spokesman said evidence obtained by the party in its investigations would be sent to the police.
But Mr Bashir described the move as a “desperate attempt” by Ukip to limit the damage of his defection.
He said: “On Friday I met David Cameron and applied to join the Conservative Party. It is clear Ukip’s action today is a desperate attempt to spoil this and is without any foundation.
“The issues raised in my notice of suspension are historic and well known to the party. Indeed, on one of them, Nigel Farage has publicly defended me over it.”
A Ukip source said the party had learned that Mr Bashir was defecting at midday on Saturday. Ukip issued a notice to Mr Bashir suspending him at about 5pm.
Mr Bashir, a Muslim and Ukip’s chief spokesman on communities, said he had decided to defect because only the Conservatives were in a position to control immigration and give voters a say over whether the UK should remain in Europe.
His departure will hurt Mr Farage, who had been planning to energise his election campaign with a round of set-piece media appearances today. Instead, the Ukip leader is now having to deal with the loss of his most prominent figure from an ethnic minority background.
David Cameron said he was “absolutely delighted” to welcome Mr Bashir into the Tory fold and urged voters who have supported Ukip to “come back” to the Conservatives at the general election.
The Prime Minister said that Mr Bashir’s move proved the election was not a “beauty contest” but a straight choice between a competent Conservative government and the “chaos” of Labour under Ed Miliband.
His defection represents a coup for the Tories as the general election campaign enters its final 100 days this week.
Mr Bashir had been one of Ukip’s leading lights even before he was elected to the European Parliament last May as MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber. He had been described as Mr Farage’s “secret weapon”.
As a Pakistani immigrant, he was regularly deployed by spin doctors as evidence that Ukip is not racist, after a succession of activists and candidates made derogatory comments about Muslims and ethnic minorities.
Mr Bashir’s defection will ignite the contest between the Conservatives and Ukip for the votes of Eurosceptics on the Right. It will be particularly welcome for the Tories, after they lost two MPs — Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell — to Ukip last year.
In an article for The Telegraph, Mr Bashir says: “After almost three years as a party member, I realise that Ukip is more concerned with furthering its own interests as a political party than delivering for the British people.
“I’ve seen Ukip both at home, and abroad, and I’m sorry to say they’re pretty amateur. In the European Parliament, some of their MEPs think it’s acceptable to shout and fool around.”
He adds: “They think they’ll sweep up dozens of seats in May, but that’s delusional. What they are in very real danger of doing, however, is making a big enough dent in the Conservative vote to let Labour in.”
Mr Cameron told The Telegraph during a meeting with Mr Bashir that he understood why voters had supported Ukip in the past, when the Coalition had taken some unpopular decisions.
“I understand why some people have drifted away to Ukip,” Mr Cameron said. “I want to genuinely win those people back by saying look, we are the only party that can offer the strong immigration control this country needs; we are the only party that can deliver that referendum that the British people deserve.
“And crucially, this general election is not a by-election, it’s not a beauty contest, it is not a chance to send a message or make a statement, it is about choosing a government of the United Kingdom.”
Mr Cameron said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Amjad has decided to leave Ukip and join the Conservative Party. His story is inspiring. It’s another sign that in this great country of ours you can come to Britain without very much and you can be a member of the European Parliament, an MP, sit in the Cabinet. I think it’s an inspiring story and one I’m very proud to have sitting as a Conservative.”
Meanwhile, Mr Cameron said broadcasters’ new format of two television election debates with seven parties followed by one with just himself and Mr Miliband showed “I was right to say you needed all the minor parties involved”. He said he would “have a good look” at the latest proposals.
Ukip was facing further embarrassment over comments made by the party’s secretary and member of its national executive council, Matthew Richardson, who claimed the party should stand up for “bigots”, according to the Sunday Times.
Mr Richardson allegedly told a meeting last month: “I’ve said before, people talk about Ukip being bigots. There are hundreds of thousands of bigots in the United Kingdom and they deserve representation.”
In a serious of astonishing remarks, Nigel Farage’s top aide Matthew Richardson condemned the NHS as “the biggest waste of money in the UK”
Nigel Farage’s right-hand man has branded the NHS “the biggest waste of money in the UK” and compared the health service to Nazi Germany.
In a series of astonishing remarks, Ukip general secretary Matthew Richardson condemned the NHS and called for it to be privatised.
His comments – made to an American audience and revealed by the Sunday Mirror – will be a huge embarrassment to leader Mr Farage, who is now facing calls to axe his Mr Richardson.
A City barrister hired by Ukip to keep “bad stuff” out of the media, bespectacled Mr Richardson, 34, explosively compared the NHS – cherished by millions as Britain’s greatest post-war achievement – to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
Speaking at two events for right-wing activists in Washington, he launched a ferocious attack on the service, blaming it for much of the nation’s debts.
He said: “A number I couldn’t possibly imagine when I was younger is now the amount of money that is owed by my country… of course, at the heart of this, the Reichstag bunker of socialism, is the National Health Service.
“And that is why socialised health care is so dangerous – because it is a ratchet. Once it is in place it is very, very hard to get rid of.”
He also launched a vitriolic attack on taxpayer-funded cosmetic surgery.
“I promise I’m not making this up – breast augmentation, hymen repair for those who want to be born-again virgins, is paid for by the National Health Service,” he told his audience of young Americans.
“If you have low self-esteem you get new breasts, but if you are dying of breast cancer you can’t have the treatment you need to stay alive. “
He added: “Socialists think that if somebody wants to reassign their gender the state should pay, they think that’s how the world works. So if you love she-males come to the United Kingdom, if you love freedom – stay here.”
The Reichstag bunker was the air-raid shelter in Berlin which became the infamous heart of the Nazi regime at the end of the World War Two. It was where Hitler married Eva Braun in 1945 before the pair committed suicide.
The emotive comparison will infuriate hardworking doctors and nurses.
One veteran nurse stormed: “We save lives every day. Is this Ukip character seriously comparing us to one of the world’s mass murderers?”
In his speech in 2010 to Young America’s Foundation Conservative Student Conference in Washington, Mr Richardson also said the NHS was the “sacred cow of British politics” – but that he hoped David Cameron would start privatising it.
Referring to Labour, Mr Richardson sneered: “This socialist Government wastes money like you can’t imagine. They have started doing every wasteful scheme under the sun.”
In a second speech in Washington at the Conservative Political Action Conference that same year Mr Richardson repeated his claim that the NHS was a massive drain on resources.
He said to the applause of his audience: “The biggest waste of money of course in the United Kingdom is the NHS.”
His comments will pile the pressure on Ukip about its plans for the health service – despite its claims that it is opposed to privatisation.
The revelation is a gift to Labour ahead of Mr Farage’s planned appearance on tomorrow’s Andrew Marr show on BBC1.
Shadow Minister without Portfolio Jon Trickett called on Mr Farage to sack Mr Richardson, or come clean and admit that Ukip backs an NHS sell-off.
“Either Nigel Farage supports this or Mr Richardson cannot stay in post,” he said. “Nigel Farage cannot simultaneously defend these comments and claim that his party stands for the NHS free at the point of use.
“The man chosen by Nigel Farage to control Ukip’s image has compared the NHS to Hitler’s Nazi bunker.”
He went on: “This is Ukip’s real agenda on the NHS. They claim to defend the service we cherish, but they want to dismantle its foundations.
“UKIP can no longer attempt to fool people. They are a party of Tory people, Tory money and they want to extend the worst Tory policies, which would have horrific effects on working people.”
Mr Richardson sat alongside Nigel Farage at the launch of UKIP’s local election campaign in 2012.
And he was one of only two officials to accompany the party leader to the House of Commons to see Tory turncoat Douglas Carswell introduced as a Ukip MP last October.
Labour faces a battle to stop disenchanted voters switching their support to Ukip, best known for its hardline policies on immigration and Europe.
Labour strategists plan to draw the contrast between Mr Richardson’s remarks on the NHS and their 10-year plan for the health service, to be unveiled on Tuesday.
Labour will also release a video of Mr Richardson’s NHS remarks, as well as launching a website called meetnigelfarage.com which invites voters to read Mr Farage’s words and make their own judgements.
Ironically, Mr Richardson was appointed as UKIP’s ruling general secretary in 2013 to keep bad news about the party buried.
Leaked minutes from the party’s ruling national executive committee reveal: “We need to ensure all of the bad stuff is kept out of the public domain. As party secretary [Mr Richardson] would try to ensure that we keep a tight rein on things.”
His remarks on the NHS are a major embarrassment to Mr Farage, who was himself forced to deny he backed privatising the NHS after remarks he made in 2012 were made public.
Mr Farage was caught on camera telling supporters that the state-funded NHS should move towards an insurance-based system run by private companies like in the US.
Earlier this month Ukip’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall insisted: “It might be better if you brought in a private company who you could hire and fire on results.”
And today the party’s health spokeswoman, MEP Louise Bours, gaffed by admitting: “I have no experience in health whatsoever.”
Tonight a Ukip spokesman said Mr Richardson was “specifically talking about the growth of middle management which had not reflected a growth in health outcomes”.
Responding to calls to sack him, he added: “It’s none of Labour’s business who we employ or don’t employ.”