Lynton Yates, Ukip parliamentary candidate for Charnwood, also says cyclists should be forced to ride on the pavement
Benefits claimants should have their driving licences suspended to ease up traffic on Britain’s roads, according to one Ukip candidate in the 2015 general election.
Lynton Yates, the party’s hopeful in Charnwood, Leicestershire, also thinks cyclists should be forced to ride on the pavement and give way to pedestrians.
Mr Yates outlines his policies in a leaflet distributed in the area, under a heading describing them as a ‘Ukip response’ to traffic congestion.
The leaflet reads: “As much as I applaud cycling as a form of exercise and past-time [sic] the already congested roads cannot cope with both bus lanes AND cyclists.
“Cycles should go back to the pavements yet give priority to pedestrians.”
It continues: “We could likely remove six million cars from the roads if benefits claimants were not driving. Why do they have the privilege to spend the tax payers’ hard earned money on a car, when those in work are struggling to keep their own car on the road? These people really could catch a bus.”
When asked how he’d implement his suggestions, Mr Yates told the Mirror taking away the driving licences of the unemployed was “a possibility.”
“I’m sure people will say ‘what if they’ve got a job interview'”, he said. “Well I’m sure if you had nothing to do you could leave a bit earlier and get a bus.”
Asked whether he was concerned about any knock on effect such a policy might have on road tax receipts, he said: “What do you want, less cars on the road or not? Road tax is ridiculous anyway. It should have been put on fuel.”
On cyclists, Mr Yates said “John Major made it unlawful to ride on the pavement. Since then the roads are twice as congested.
“It seems ludicrous to me.”
The leaflet ends with the words: “Yet again we’re proposing common sense policies and common sense solutions.”
A Ukip spokesperson said “These are not UKIP policies and they will not form part of the UKIP manifesto.”
Asked why a candidate was publishing apparently national policies in his literature, which were at odds with the party’s national platform, the spokesperson gave no further comment.
Ukip’s policy chief, Tim Aker, stood down last week, just six weeks before he was due to launch the party’s official election platform.
Simon Sansome, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Charnwood said suspending the driving licences of the unemployed was “an absolutely idiotic idea.”
According to ElectionForecast.co.uk, Mr Yates is expected to receive 12% of the vote in Charnwood.
The sitting Tory MP, Stephen Dorrell, is standing down at the 2015 election and selection for his replacement has not yet taken place.
Less than four months before the general election, the UK Independence party’s manifesto is “just a series of bullet points”, according to one official, prompting the party to appoint a new head of policy.
The delay matters because Ukip support has surged and polls suggest the party may enter the next parliament with several MPs, prompting greater than usual interest in its election promises.
Senior Ukip figures say their manifesto may not be ready to publish at the Ukip spring conference on February 27-28 and have expressed concern at the slow pace of work on it.
Ukip confirmed on Tuesday that it was removing Tim Aker, the head of policy, from his role overseeing the drafting of the manifesto.
Neither Mr Aker nor a party spokesman replied to a request for comment. But Suzanne Evans, the former deputy chair who has been brought in to replace him, told the FT: “Tim Aker is an MEP, fighting for a seat in Thurrock and now a local councillor too. He was delighted to hand over the manifesto process.”
One person involved in the preparation of the manifesto said: “It will be largely ready by the spring conference, but perhaps not in full written form. It is going to take a lot of hard work to get to that point though.”
Another said: “A lot of people got irritated with Tim throwing his weight around. All he has for a manifesto at the moment is a series of bullet points, not a proper document at all.”
Ukip’s policy process has been particularly challenging for this election, because party leader Nigel Farage disowned every policy in the 2010 manifesto.
This included ideas such as a flat income tax of 31 per cent, a phasing out of national insurance, compulsory uniforms for taxi drivers and safeguarding British weights and measures.
The Financial Times revealed earlier this month that the party is planning a series of new policies, including ringfencing the National Health Service budget, raising the income tax threshold for lower earners and opposing a new runway at Heathrow.
But many details remain unclear, not least how the party would manage the economy and cut Britain’s gaping deficit.
Part of the delay is attributed to a split between those wanting to keep the party grounded in its libertarian roots and those wanting to push it towards more populist policy positions.
Those tensions erupted in public on Tuesday as senior party figures turned not only on Mr Aker, but on Mr Farage himself, who was quoted by the BBC saying the party should return to the debate over radical transformation of the NHS.
Mr Farage has previously advocated replacing the service with an insurance-based system, even though the party says it is committed to maintaining an NHS free at the point of delivery.
His words echo those of several officials, who have told the FT that maintaining the health service in its current form is only party policy “for now”
Louise Bours, Ukip’s health spokesman, made an unusual public attack on her party leader. She said: “Nigel is entitled to his opinion and others are entitled to theirs, . . . [but] I am certain that if the party discuss it again, we will reject it again. The vast majority of Ukip members, the British public and I will always favour a state-funded NHS.”
Another senior party official expressed irritation that Mr Farage would speak openly about such a possibility so close to the election. The person said: “Nigel has foot-in-mouth disease, he just can’t help himself.”
The row encapsulates what some in the party have billed the split between the “blue-collar kippers” and the “uber-libertarians”, as the party tries to win over disaffected Labour voters.
Internal rows suggest the party is struggling with pressure in run-up to the general election
Ukip is facing pre-election turmoil after policy differences and personality clashes burst into the open, with the party’s health spokeswoman slapping down Nigel Farage’s suggestion the NHS could eventually be privatised.
Amid signs of in-fighting and internal rivalry, a senior source admitted last night that the mood in Ukip’s higher echelons had become “scratchy and irritable” ahead of the 7 May ballots.
There is also dismay in parts of the party over the slow progress in compiling its manifesto, with the MEP responsible for drafting the document revealed to have recently relinquished responsibility for the task.
A fresh spotlight was shone on Ukip’s growing pains yesterday in a BBC interview when the party leader raised the prospect of ultimately replacing the state-funded NHS with an insurance-based healthcare system.
While stressing his party remained committed to healthcare free at the point of delivery, Mr Farage indicated it was “a debate that we are all going to have to return to” because of Britain’s rapidly ageing population.
Ukip’s health spokeswoman Louise Bours swiftly contradicted her leader as she insisted the vast majority of party members “will always favour a state-funded NHS”.
Ms Bours said: “Nigel is entitled to his opinion and others are entitled to theirs, we don’t whip people into all thinking the same thing, like the establishment parties.
“As he has said before, he raised the idea for discussion a while ago, the party discussed it and rejected it. I am certain that if the party discuss it again, we will reject it again.”
The clash followed the disclosure that Suzanne Evans, Ukip’s deputy chairwoman, had taken over the writing of the party’s manifesto from the Euro-MP Tim Aker.
He was reported to have fallen behind with completing the final draft, leading to protests from candidates that they were struggling to answer voters’ questions on the doorstep.
The party dismissed claims he had been sacked as “complete tosh” and said he had asked about 10 days ago to be relieved of the duty, although sources acknowledged Mr Aker had been behind schedule as he attempted to juggle his other jobs as an MEP, councillor and parliamentary candidate.
Work on the manifesto was also affected by the furore surrounding the party’s general secretary, Roger Bird, who was cleared internally of a sexual harassment allegation but stood down from his post by mutual consent.
Meanwhile, the party has been hit by a farcical series of events over its choice of a candidate in the Essex seat of South Basildon and East Thurrock. Kerry Smith – who was selected after the former MP Neil Hamilton pulled out amid controversy over his expenses – was forced to quit over offensive remarks he made in a telephone call.
Evidence is also emerging of rival camps gathering around Mr Farage and Ukip’s first elected MP, Douglas Carswell. The MP for Clacton upset some party traditionalists with a call for it to be “inclusive” and is understood to be at odds with senior figures over health and defence policies.
Aker was in charge of preparing Ukip’s 2015 manifesto before stepping down – but they say it will be “almost entirely” his work anyway
Ukip’s policy chief has quit just six weeks ahead of the party’s manifesto launch in February.
Head of Policy Tim Aker, who was expected to complete the 2015 policy platform before its launch at the Ukip spring conference next month, has been replaced by deputy chairman Suzanne Evans.
A Ukip spokesman said Aker chose to step down on January 12th following his election to Thurrock Borough Council on December 5th.
Aker is also standing as the party’s general election candidate for Thurrock, hoping to unseat Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price.
Earlier reports suggested Aker had been sacked for failing to deliver the manifesto on time, but this was denied by the party.
A party spokesman said: “The full policy platform is and always was scheduled for the Ukip Spring Conference at the end of February.”
He also the manifesto was “almost entirely” Aker’s work and said replacing him with just weeks to go before its launch was not an indication of problems with the document’s preparation.
Last night, The Times reported a senior insider fuming: “There was growing disquiet that none of us had seen hide nor hair on the policy front. It was especially annoying for candidates, who are banned from making any specific pledges before the manifesto is published. They don’t know what to tell voters on the doorstep.”
Aker’s replacement, Suzanne Evans, took to Facebook this morning to praise Aker’s work, saying his commitments as an MEP, local councillor and election candidate meant he “simply couldn’t continue” with the full time job of developing the manifesto.
She also addressed the Times’ claims that he’d been sacked, describing it as “codswallop”.
“He was keen to hand the brief over,” she said. “And I feel very sorry that he is having to face some appalling lies form mischievous journalists.
“Still, we all knew this campaign was going to be bloody…”
The forthcoming manifesto is the party’s first full policy document since their notorious 2010 election platform, dismissed by Nigel Farage as “drivel.”
As well as her new responsibility for Ukip policy, Suzanne Evans is deputy party chairman and the party’s general election candidate for Shrewsbury & Atcham.
Evans wrote a book last year entitled Why Vote Ukip? – in which she suggests the party would demand all tourists visiting the UK prove they have medical insurance and that meat imports leave us at risk of Ebola if they were in power.
She also suggests the party would seek to abolish the Ministry of Justice.
THE leader of the UKIP group on Thurrock Council has been charged with drink driving after a late night incident at a fundraising function attended by national party leader Nigel Farage and MEP Tim Aker.
Cllr Robert Ray was arrested in the early hours of last Friday morning after a dinner at the Orsett Hall Hotel.
A statement by Essex police said: “A man has been charged with drink driving after being arrested at Orsett. Robert Ray, 65, of Purfleet Road, Aveley, was stopped by officers at Orsett Hall at 2.15am on Friday, 13 June. He has been bailed and will appear at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on 1 July.
The event at Orsett Hall was a £55 a head fundraiser for UKIP organised by the Thurrock branch of UKIP, which is supporting Mr Aker in his quest to ‘double up’ as a Westminster MP after his success in the recent East of England European elections. He has been nominated as the party’s candidate for the Borough seat.
It is understood that Mr Farage and Mr Aker had left the function well before its close and that Mr Ray was leaving the scene himself in the early hours with his wife, and fellow councillor, Maggie O’Keefe-Ray.
Cllr O’Keefe-Ray, 62, was a recent winner in the local government elections for Thurrock Council, winning a seat to serve Aveley and Uplands, which her husband also represents.
Cllr O’Keefe-Ray, who suffers from a thyroid condition, blacked out, falling and cutting her head. Fellow party-goers alerted emergency services and when police arrived Mr Ray was arrested in charge of his car.
Mrs O’Keefe-Ray was taken to Basildon Hospital by ambulance where she was treated and later released.
“It was all very unfortunate and we are feeling very embarrassed,” Cllr Mrs O’Keefe told the Enquirer.