MEDIA

The end of an ‘amazing but frustrating’ five years

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Jill Seymour officially leaves the European Parliament on July 1, and has been reflecting on her rollercoaster five years in office.

She was one of three UKIP candidates elected as an MEP to represent the West Midlands in the 2014 election, but quit the party – which she felt had changed political direction – to join Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in April this year.

“Being an MEP is a unique position; one I personally never took for granted. The pressure to represent constituents who voted me into office, and to stand up for the beliefs they elected me to uphold, has been immense,,” she said.

Jill was a front-bench spokesman on transport throughout her term, becoming one of the most vocal campaigners against HS2, and battling against EU-driven policies such as the Certificate of Professional Competence for hauliers.

As part of the HS2 campaign, she produced a hard-hitting film (see below) highlighting families whose lives will be ruined by the ‘HS2 Disaster’. It was viewed by more than 100,000 people in its first week alone, and nearly a quarter of a million people connected with an accompanying facebook page.

Jill has also campaigned for a simplification of the UK’s rail pricing structure, the removal of toll charges on British highways, and challenged the Government to stop bankrolling investment in overseas roads, when so many parts of the UK’s own potholed surfaces are in such a bad state of repair.

She has been a vociferous campaigner against the closure of 24-hour accident and emergency services in Telford and ‘scandalous’ hospital parking charges, as well as fighting the loss of green spaces in the county to housing developers when many brownfield sites remain untouched.

Jill said she would continue to fight against what she sees as a growing raft of anti-car legislation which treat drivers like ‘wallets on wheels’, and remains a patron of the Alliance of British Drivers.

“I’m all for the encouragement of policies promoting clean air, but do worry that some people will struggle financially to make the move to such things as electric cars – and I question how the infrastructure will ever be sufficiently in place.

“There are many other unanswered questions: for example, what does it mean to classic car drivers, will electric vehicles have the same pulling power and resilience in our changing climate, and isn’t it dangerous to put all our eggs in one basket, and rely on a single form of power to keep us on the roads?”

She added: “Looking back over my rollercoaster five years as an MEP, commuting between the UK and parliament buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg and dealing with constituency business at my Wellington office, it has been an amazing but frustrating time.

“It is astonishing, in this modern era, that the European parliament constantly ups sticks between Strasbourg and Brussels for a farcical process which means transporting all staff and MEPs for the sake of just three days of voting each month.

“If the EU is serious about wanting to save the planet, it could start by looking at its own carbon footprint, and tackling the mountain of wasted paper caught up in all this bloated bureaucracy.”

Reflecting on her decision to switch parties earlier this year, Jill said: “I was with the right party at the start, led by Nigel Farage, and even with the highs and real lows, I have always backed and admired his strength and determination in his beliefs.

“He has now truly come into his own. I will always be proud of him, as well as the colleagues who helped me throughout my years in politics – hoping maybe one day we can all raise a glass on our success.”

She added: “It is frankly scandalous that, more than three years after we voted to leave the European Union, we still have not broken free. And it is ridiculous that we have had to go through the costly and farcical process of electing another set of MEPs that we don’t need – and that the EU certainly doesn’t want.

“People supported Brexit because they are fed up of being controlled by Europe. This is very, very different from saying we want to pull up the drawbridge and completely isolate ourselves from our neighbours.

“We just want to wrestle back control of our own rules, regulations, and legislation. I campaigned passionately for Brexit because I believe it will always be the British people who know what is best for our strong, proud, and resilient island nation.”

She continued: “We all believe in our country, and will give our last breath to protect it. I am grateful to the many, many people who have helped, supported and advised me during my time in office.

“My team put in an immense amount of time and work, often working long hours, and sometimes under immense pressure. This commitment never went un-noticed, and was never taken for granted. I certainly could not have achieved what I did, or managed to get through the past five years, without their support.

“Last but not least, I must add a massive thank you to my amazing husband Brian, who encouraged me 19 years ago to venture into politics, and has given me such committed love and support all the way through.”

Jill recalled the very first speech she gave as an MEP, on the night of the 2014 election results.

“I said that the message coming from the established parties had been wrong for years, and cited the fact that they seemed unable to grasp the fact that it’s the people they must serve, not their own ends – and that electors had become fed up of their rhetoric and spin.

“Given what has happened to our democracy in the past three years since the Brexit referendum, this has never been more true.”

Brexit Party is the answer to the public’s despair

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Telford’s Tory MP Lucy Allan acknowledges that the Brexit Party is putting forward ‘some fantastic candidates’ for the European elections.

What’s the big scandal? It’s true.

Lucy sees how the public has reacted over the past months over parliament’s inability to enact the will on the people, and is simply displaying the same despair.

She is trying to be loyal to her own party, who are already struggling to support their own leader.

But she also listens to her local constituents and businesses and, like myself, wants to see an end to this farce, see Brexit through, and move on towards a positive future.

Neither of us ever wanted to see another European election, and to see how much this will cost the taxpayer is a disgrace, at a time when money is so needed for our public services locally.

The political establishment needs a wake-up call. The public is crying out for a new era in politics – one that delivers and keeps its word, and one where elected representatives actually speak on behalf of the public who put them into office, instead of themselves.

Lucy’s comments have my complete support. The only way to change is to vote for the Brexit Party.

Jill resigns from the UK Independence Party

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This morning I have announced my resignation from UKIP, and will sit as a Brexit Party MEP for the remainder of my mandate. This is the official announcement, below:

PRESS RELEASE, April 15, 2019

West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour has resigned from the UK Independence Party after 18 years of loyal service, and become a member of the Brexit Party.

Jill said she was proud to have helped UKIP grow from strength to strength under the leadership of Nigel Farage, leading up to its success at the 2014 European elections.

But she said the current UKIP, under the leadership of Gerard Batten, had now abandoned its centre ground and chosen to instead occupy ‘the extreme right of politics’.

“I am not walking away from the party’s original core principles, but the present party’s direction means it has walked away from me, and its original membership,” she said.

“I shall now be sitting as an officially designated Brexit Party MEP for the remainder of my mandate in the European Parliament.”

She added: “It is a disgrace that we are even in a position to be talking about having European elections once again, but I would ask everyone who believes in democracy, and honouring the result of the 2016 referendum, to show the political establishment they are disgusted with the betrayal of Brexit by this Government, and go out and vote, believing in Great Britain and its independence.”

Jill’s husband Brian Seymour, a dedicated member and UKIP donor for more than 20 years, has also resigned from his lifetime membership of the party.

Jill said: “Under Nigel Farage’s leadership, UKIP gained brand recognition, and an army of stalwart supporters.

“It was the hard work of the grassroots membership who helped me, and my colleagues, to persuade the British public to vote overwhelmingly for UKIP in the 2014 European elections.

“No one person should ever be bigger than a political party, but sadly I believe that Mr Batten will be instrumental in its demise.”

She accused Mr Batten of attempting to ‘bully’ her into leaving the EFDD ‘Brexit Group’ in the European Parliament, and follow him into a rival far-right affiliation.

“It was suggested that, if I did not do this, it would be a black mark against me. I do not appreciate being bullied by what is clearly just an attempted points-scoring exercise against Mr Farage and his new Brexit Party.”

Jill stepped down as UKIP Transport spokesman at the end of last year, saying she felt unable to remain a member of Mr Batten’s front-bench team which was changing direction, associating itself with extremist characters, and using language which incited hate.

“I wanted to honour my earlier promises to the electorate, feeling it was against my principles to resign from the party altogether, and I have tried to do the honourable thing. But as a politician of strong principles, I now find my position untenable.

“I still see genuine people in UKIP who believe in my values, and will give their last breath to protect those values. But UKIP officials have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many loyal and dedicated past and present members, who now seek a new type of party.
“It is the Brexit Party that will return our country from the European Union, and deliver true democracy.”

Another ‘project fear’ claim proves to be unfounded

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Speaking from the European Parliament today, Jill said: “I was pleased to vote to ensure that, in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement on 29th March 2019, services will continue.
 
“Over the last couple of years since Article 50 was initiated, several high profile people like Michael O’Leary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have instilled project fear into the minds of the subjects of the UK.
 
“I have always said that it would be foolhardy of the EU not to have contingency measures in place in order to ensure that everyone can go about their daily lives in the event that the UK leaves without a Withdrawal Agreement, and today this has been proved to be the case.

We need a genuine Brexiteer to lead from the front

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With Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal rejected by 230 votes – the largest defeat for a sitting government in history – Jill says: “This would have been the worst deal in our country’s history, and was quite rightly rejected. No deal was always going to be better than this deal proposed by Theresa May.

“It’s time now for our parliamentarians to restore faith in our democracy by honouring the wishes of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU.

“Politicians are at pains to state that they respect the will of the people – well, now is the time for them to prove it with actions, and not just words.

“After sustaining the biggest defeat by a sitting Government in our history, I believe Theresa May must question her position.

“The public voted for a true, sincere Brexit, and to achieve that we need a genuine Brexiteer to lead from the front.

“Any negotiated future with the EU must be to the benefit of the UK, both economically and politically. We need to be friends and allies, but not with an open cheque book.

“And we cannot carry on allowing out of touch elitist dictators to call the shots and give so little back to the UK.

“When we leave the European Union, the contributions we current make will be able to be redirected in so many ways to help our suffocating public services.”

Jill Seymour resigns as UKIP Transport spokesman

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Jill Seymour MEP has resigned her position as UKIP Transport spokesman, with immediate effect.

The West Midlands MEP has held the post since being elected to the European Parliament in 2014, but says she is ‘struggling to be loyal to a party that is changing direction’.

Mrs Seymour has written to UKIP leader Gerard Batten, and to the party’s NEC, to inform them of her decision, saying: “I joined UKIP 18 years ago to fight for our country’s independence and its self-determination; being good neighbours with our European friends, without being suffocated by EU laws.

“However, over the past few months the party has moved away from our core beliefs – the main one focusing on the betrayal of Mrs May and her EU friends, who have quietly deceived the 17.4 million leave voters.

“We should have been the most prominent Brexit party, holding meetings and campaigns across the UK over the past months, leading up to 11th December and beyond until March 29th. Sadly, I do not believe this has happened.”

She said Mr Batten’s decision to stand by controversial figures was causing unrest, not just within the party, but across the country.

And she added in her letter: “Many of our colleagues and loyal activists are resigning from the party because of your decisions, and this is very concerning.

“I am struggling to be loyal to a party that is changing in direction, and conscious of the grassroots who look upon us for support.

“I have begged you to listen and be guided by the NEC and your friends, which you have the right to ignore, but feel this could be at the cost of both yourself, and the party.

“You have made it difficult for me, and many, to stay true to the party and our leader, so I feel I have no alternative but to resign from your front bench team, and consider my future.

“I appeal to you to reconsider your present direction; to focus purely on fighting the establishment who are clearly betraying millions of us that wish to leave the EU. This is the only subject this country should be discussing right now.”

Rail fare rises: Will they lead to more broken promises?

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UKIP’s transport spokesman Jill Seymour has condemned the latest inflation-busting rise in rail fares, describing them as the fore-runner for another year of broken promises.

The price of a train ticket in Britain will go up by an average of 3.1% from the start of January – just weeks after it emerged that UK train punctuality is at its lowest level in more than a decade.

Mrs Seymour said: “Every year the rail companies say the price rises are vital to allow them to improve service, yet every year they fail all customer service metrics. It’s all talk, and broken promises.

“It begs the question – exactly where is this money being spent? The stories we hear from commuters about tatty, overcrowded rolling stock suggest it’s certainly not improving the lives of paying customers.”

She added: “The Government is constantly talking about encouraging people to ditch their cars and switch to public transport, yet the price of a rail ticket is already prohibitive for many.

“With these latest rises, many long-distance commuters will see the annual cost of getting to work rise by hundreds of pounds.

“And particularly for those working in London, who can’t afford to buy a house in the city because of crazy property prices, they have no choice but to pay. Someone, somewhere, is laughing all the way to the bank. It’s disgusting.

Mrs Seymour added: “The very least we expect to see is a similarly significant increase in the quality of our railway network.

“Yet just look at the outpouring of anger on social media from customers, who talk about having to pay more to be late for work, and crammed into carriages like sardines.

“You cannot continue to hike prices, without addressing shoddy customer service and providing value for money. Rail companies could start by simplifying the ticketing system, to ensure passengers can find the cheapest deals.

“Britain already has the highest rail fares in Europe. Why not scrap the tens of billions being wasted on HS2, and focus instead on supporting the existing railway infrastructure where prices are going sky-high at a time when customer satisfaction is falling through the floor?”

Charity should begin at home for bankrolling road repairs

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UKIP transport spokesman Jill Seymour is calling on the Government to stop bankrolling investment in overseas roads – when so many parts of the UK’s own surfaces are in such a bad state of repair.

She was responding to a report which reveals that some £37 million of the UK’s £13 billion foreign aid budget is currently being used to patch up potholes and upgrade roads in India.

“This is a country which has its own space programme, and is planning to spend £10 billion on a fleet of warships – why should we be funding public services they are clearly perfectly able to afford themselves?

“Meanwhile, many British roads are in a poor state of repair, even though our motorists pay some of the highest taxes in the world.”

A further £265 million has been spent on building a new road corridor in Pakistan, and £700 million on a road and power project at Lake Victoria in East Africa, the Government’s foreign aid spending watchdog has revealed.

“It is insane to be throwing such large sums of money at these overseas projects when our own road and rail network is creaking at the seams, crying out for investment,” Mrs Seymour said.

“When it comes to investment in transport infrastructure, we have got our priorities completely wrong. The only domestic transport project the Government seems bothered about right now is the white elephant HS2 project which we don’t need.

“Charity begins at home. We pay enough taxes to have the best roads in the world, but instead they are rapidly becoming the worst.

“Once all of our own roads are fixed and our deficit is gone, then maybe we can look at helping to repair and build roads around the world.

“Until then, this insane nonsense has to stop, and our incompetent Government needs to wake up and listen to the people – or stand aside and let someone else into power who will but the needs of the British people first.”

Mrs Seymour, who sits on the transport committee in the European Parliament, said the ‘hidden cost’ of the lack of investment in UK roads was already being passed to long-suffering drivers in spiralling car repair bills.

In the 12 months to the end of September, the RAC revealed that its patrols attended 14,220 breakdowns including incidents with distorted wheels, broken suspension springs and damaged shock absorbers – likely to have been caused by potholes.

The RAC’s Pothole Index, a long-term indicator of the state of our roads, now stands at 2.63 which means pothole damage is more than 2.5 times as likely to cause a breakdown than in 2006.

The estimated cost for local councils to repair roads in England and Wales is £14 billion in the next two years and the Asphalt Industry Alliance warns that one in five local roads is in a poor condition with the frequency of road resurfacing in decline.

Mrs Seymour said: “Our Government needs a big shake-up. They are spending vast sums of taxpayers’ money on trying to buy friends overseas while the hard-pressed British motorist is counting the cost of the terrible state of our roads.

“It beggars belief that our own motorists should being ruthlessly exploited in this way, and expected to put up with sub-standard domestic roads while their taxes bankroll investment on the other side of the world.”

Royal wedding critics have their priorities all wrong

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West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour has slammed critics of today’s royal wedding who have branded it a waste of taxpayers’ money.

And she accused the Daily Star newspaper of spiteful and appalling behaviour by handing out souvenir sick bags “for those of you who just can’t stomach” the cost to the public purse.

The Metropolitan Police spent around £6.35 million on security for Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton, and up to £4 million on Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle last year.

Along with Thames Valley Police, they are expected to rack up another big security bill as a result of Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank in Windsor today.

But Mrs Seymour said: “People are quick to criticise the royal family at the first opportunity – without considering the money they bring into this country in tourism revenue.

“The crowds out on the streets today will be spending money in our shops, and the TV coverage will have been selling the UK as a tourist destination all over the world.

“The benefits of our royal family to the British economy hugely outweigh the costs – and I for one wish the royal couple well.”

She added: “It’s a pity that these spiteful critics don’t get their priorities right. The insulting behaviour of the Daily Star, in particular, is absolutely disgraceful. Just how low will they go for a cheap headline?

“Why don’t they campaign against the £4 billion of foreign aid we are giving to countries like India and Pakistan, part of which is being used to fill potholes on their roads when we can’t get our own holes fixed?

“Why are they not railing against the white elephant HS2 project here in the UK, where the budget is spiralling closer to the £100 billion mark by the week, before a track for this unwanted project is even laid?

“And how about the high court judges who look set to get a pay rise of around £60,000, when they already get an average salary of more than £180,000 and earn more than the Prime Minister?

“I’m very keen for the UK to help countries which have suffered genuine devastation, like this month’s earthquake tragedy in Indonesia.

“But when it comes to bashing the royals ahead of some of our other crazy spending policies, it seems to me that priorities in this country have become totally unbalanced – it’s simply not logical.”

© Copyright 2015. Published and promoted by Anthony Walker on behalf of Jill Seymour MEP - UK Independence Party