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Conservative MP for North East Somerset Jacob Rees Mogg has for over a year been calling for a Tory-UKIP pact. Today’s defection by Conservative MP Dominic Carswell highlights the weak leadership at the heart of the Conservative Party and has raised questions about the future party loyalty of North East Somerset's Tory MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg.  National press reports have been quick to speculate that Rees-Mogg could follow suit and defect to UKIP.

Todd Foreman, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset commented:

“A Tory MP defecting to UKIP shows that the message to working people is clear: vote UKIP and you not only get policies that are more extreme than the Tories, you also get the Tories.

“The Tory MP for NE Somerset Jacob Rees Mogg needs to put his money where his mouth is and be honest with the residents of NE Somerset about what he stands for.

“Voters here in 2010 elected Jacob Rees Mogg on a platform of Conservative policies, but for over a year now he has been aligning himself with the extreme policies advocated by UKIP, such as wanting higher taxes for working families, huge giveaways for the rich, scrapping rights at work and charges to see your GP.

“His constituents have a right to know who it is that is representing them, what he believes and on what platform he is standing next year.  If North East Somerset voters elect me as their MP at the next election, they know that they will be getting a Labour MP for the duration of the Parliament.  Jacob Rees-Mogg needs to state clearly whether he will remain in the Conservative Party for the duration of the next Parliament if he is re-elected.”

“Only a vote for Labour in May 2015 offers a sure alternative for North East Somerset.”

Ends

Jacob Reeds Mogg has publicly called for the Conservative Party to align with UKIP

On policy:

"In policy terms the two parties are fairly close with many issues, divided by nuance rather than fundamental position"

On leadership:

On his views about the position of his Party:

Jacob Rees-Mogg told the BBC "winning back our friends in UKIP" was the Conservative's first priority, but that the two parties had enough similarities to merit a "coupon", or agreement to support each other's candidates in the future.

Calls for "love bombing Ukip" in the wake of 2014 European elections

Today’s speculation that Jacob Rees-Mogg will defect to UKIP

Can North East Somerset voters know what they will get with Jacob Rees-Mogg?

Conservative MP for North East Somerset Jacob Rees Mogg has for over a year been calling for a Tory-UKIP pact. Today’s defection by Conservative MP Dominic Carswell highlights the weak...

Labour community activists have persuaded bus giant, First, to host a public meeting in Midsomer Norton in response to criticism of the new bus fares they introduced last month.

“Our campaign for better bus services in our area is in its early stages,” said Radstock town councillor, Anne Marie Jovcic-Sas, who is a Labour candidate for the B&NES council elections next year.

“We are determined to make a strong case to the local authority and bus providers to ensure we don’t lose out. Which is why we agreed a bus passenger charter that we presented to First after the Radstock public meeting.”

The highlights of the charter include:

  • restoring cheaper day return fares where the price of two single tickets exceeds £5
  • allowing £1.50 single fares from all of Radstock to all of Midsomer Norton (and vice versa) regardless of whether the length of the journey is over three miles (using a zone system)
  • extending the young person's discount card to include everyone up to the age of 25
  • providing multi-operator tickets which are valid across all bus services.

The public meeting with First takes place on Wednesday 17 September at Midsomer Norton Town Hall, starting at 6pm.

“There are signs that First are beginning to listen to us,” said Cllr Chris Dando, who is also a Radstock town councillor and standing for B&NES next year. “We need to use this demonstration of ‘people power’ to persuade them of the strength of our argument.”

A bus stop petition is also being organised by the local Labour Party with Parliamentary candidate, Todd Foreman, throwing his weight behind the campaign.

“This affects the whole of the Somer Valley area where the lack of economic activity has seen a heavy reliance on public transport to major employment or service centres in Bath and Bristol,” said Todd. “People need fairer fares and First has given me an undertaking that they are willing to reconsider specific points if there is enough popular support for change.”

“I would urge all bus users to make their voices heard,” added Cllr Jovcic-Sas. “As well as First, we need to lobby B&NES Council as subsidised bus routes are constantly under threat because of Lib Dem budget cuts.

“For example, proposed changes to the 768 bus route will disadvantage local people who want to travel to Midsomer Norton High Street (or Paulton Hospital) and spend some time there before making the return journey home.

“The gap between the dropping-off time and the picking-up time – which is currently over an hour – but may be cut to just 40 minutes.

“This will have a negative effect on people from Timsbury, Camerton, Clandown, Writhlington and Radstock who use the 768 bus to visit their doctor, dentist or hospital.

“Currently they can make good use of any spare time in Midsomer Norton High Street to do some shopping before catching the bus home. The proposed timetable changes will make this difficult.

“These are the sorts of things bus users need to be telling the powers that be and the public meeting – as well as our petition – provide the best opportunity to do that.”

 

 

Labour Bus Campaign Continues

Labour community activists have persuaded bus giant, First, to host a public meeting in Midsomer Norton in response to criticism of the new bus fares they introduced last month.

 

Todd Foreman, Labour's parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset at the next general election, has responded to statements about fracking made recently by North East Somerset's current Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg

 

Speaking on Channel 4 News, Rees-Mogg strongly welcomed plans by the government to allow fracking to go ahead in Britain, including in some cases under “exceptional circumstances” and over the objection of local Councils in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).  Rees-Mogg indicated in the interview that potential to raise more money through fracking than tourism in an AONB could amount to an “exceptional circumstance” that could justify fracking. Rees-Mogg also repeated claims that fracking in Britain will lead to cheaper energy prices for UK consumers.

 

Todd Foreman said:

 

“North East Somerset is home to Chew Valley Lake and portions of the Mendip Hills and Cotswolds AONBs, and is also in close proximity to underground hot springs at Bath Spa which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Because of these natural features, my view has always been that North East Somerset is not an appropriate place to conduct fracking.  This view is shared by Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES) which has taken a clear position that North East Somerset is not an appropriate place to conduct fracking."

 

“Jacob Rees-Mogg is putting the interests of the fracking industry ahead of his constituents in North East Somerset.  Rees-Mogg continues to insist that fracking for shale gas will lead to lower gas prices for British energy consumers, however this claim is disputed by many experts, including Lord Browne who is chairman of the UK's leading shale gas company"

 

“Furthermore, Rees-Mogg is ignoring the wishes of Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) Council, which has expressed a clear view that B&NES is not an appropriate location to conduct fracking.  The plans the government has published will allow the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to overrule decisions of local authorities like B&NES to prohibit fracking locally"

 

“North East Somerset needs an MP who will prioritise renewable energy sources and protect the local environment rather than acting as a cheerleader for the fracking industry.  If elected as North East Somerset's MP at next year's general election, I will support B&NES Council in its efforts to prevent fracking in North East Somerset.”

 

1.           Jacob Rees-Mogg's appearance on Channel 4 News is available here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omkevjNeWdQ. Rees-Mogg's claim that fracking will lead to cheaper energy for UK consumers is at 6:34.  His statement about “exceptional circumstances” and tourism revenue versus drilling revenue in AONBs is at 8:55.

2.           Bath and North East Somerset Council has reached a cross-party consensus against allowing fracking locally.  See http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/Political-parties-unite-opposition-fracking-Bath/story-19507361-detail/story.html

3.           Lord Browne, Chairman of the British shale gas driller Cuadrilla Resources, has said that fracking in Britain will not lead to lower energy prices for UK consumers.  See http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/29/browne-fracking-not-reduce-uk-gas-prices-shale-energy-bills

Labour Parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset responds to Jacob Rees-Mogg's statements on fracking

  Todd Foreman, Labour's parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset at the next general election, has responded to statements about fracking made recently by North East Somerset's current Conservative MP,...

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