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Freedom of speech…. just watch what you say…

A great night at the Green Dragon supporting one of our most precious freedoms – Free Speech.

We started the night saying free speech and freedom are messy and we had some robust but good natured exchanges.

  • Harry Fone of the Taxpayers’ Alliance spoke about how we can’t criticise waste in the NHS.
  • The Libertarian Party’s Sean Finch covered the many ways hate speech laws curtail our freedom of speech.
  • Local mum and Christian Izzy Montague talked about the challenges she faced speaking up to protect her children’s childhood.
  • David Kurten Brexit Alliance London Assembly Member spoke of his experiences of people trying to shut down his speech.

Thanks to all who attended and especially our speakers for making this such an enjoyable night.

Interview with Mario Creatura, the Conservative Party PPC for Croydon Central

Always keen to support people in Croydon prepared to support Brexit. The Croydon Constitutionalists spoke to Councillor Mario Creatura, the Conservative Party Candidate for Croydon Central.

Mario will be well known to many of our followers as a local Councillor and campaigner. He worked for Gavin Barwell when he was an MP, global beer company Heineken and in 10 Downing Street running social media for Theresa May. He now works in communications for Virgin Money UK.

Mario thanks for your time.

What don’t we know about you that has led you to be the PPC in Croydon Central?

I’ve lived in Croydon all my life. I was born in Mayday Hospital and went to nursery at Tollgate in Shirley; attended St Thomas Becket Primary in South Norwood; checked my first books out of Ashburton Library and learnt to ride my bike in Bingham Park.

My first job was in the town centre; first flat just off the historic Surrey Street Market and last year, with my wife Amy, we moved into our first home together in Park Hill.

Croydon isn’t just some rung on the political career ladder for me – it’s been my home for over 30 years. I want my community to thrive and that’s not been happening in recent years.

I truly believe that it’s only when our community comes together that we can tackle the complex issues facing our town – to create an environment that promotes aspiration and helps our town thrive. That’s why I’m running to be our next Member of Parliament: to work with everyone to help Croydon be the best it can be.

What first got you involved in politics?

Growing up in Croydon I wasn’t really concerned about politics, and neither were my family. My dad still gets up at 4am to go to work, and when I was a kid mum would work nights in Woolworths in the town centre.

I went to a great state school in South Norwood, worked hard and became the first in my family to make it to university. It wasn’t easy; I didn’t know anyone else that had been. Thankfully with the help of a bursary and an incredibly supportive family I graduated, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it truly transformed my life.

I met people who became lifelong friends. Some of them were interested in politics, and over many a beer it was at university that my interest in politics was kindled.

I graduated in 2009 and came back to Croydon just before the 2010 General Election. While I was away my mum had become a Teaching Assistant at my old school and my dad had started refereeing and coaching the local little league. They had started to get fully involved in the community, rolling their sleeves up and helping out. I saw the difference they made, and how much of an impact they were both making in our local area.

That’s when I started thinking about local politics. I have always thought that if you want to help your community then the best way is by getting involved. It doesn’t matter what it is – but the best way to make a difference is to get stuck in.

That’s also why I started getting involved in the local Conservative party. Politics can be a force for good, a place where people debate ideas and work to make our local area better. I wanted to be a part of that effort, so I took my own advice and got involved!

Any stories from previous campaign trails that have stuck in your memory?

I first ran for election in Selhurst ward. One weekday evening I was out knocking on doors on the Selhurst Road, working to find out about the issues and concerns facing the local residents.

In one of the houses was a lady who was clearly getting ready to go out for the night. She had a towel around her hair and was in a dressing gown – she was clearly in no mood for talking to a councillor candidate. She told me, as anticipated, that she was in the middle of something and had no time to talk – but in any case that there was absolutely no way she was going to vote for a Conservative. She thought that was the end of that, and so I (thinking I had nothing to lose) asked her ‘Why?’

She was taken aback. What did I mean: why? She was very clear wasn’t she?

I was genuinely interested in what she had to say. Why not vote Conservative? Why vote Labour? Why be so unequivocal? I was curious, and she appreciated it.

Despite her supposed rush, we ended up talking for more than 30 minutes. About schools and social mobility. About fly-tipping and potholes. About the health service and police force.

At the end of the conversation she thanked me for my time, and that I listened to her. She told me that she would still be voting Labour but that she appreciated my commitment to our community.

A few weeks later was Election Day. That night I was surprised to receive a message on Facebook. It said:

‘Hi Mario. Not sure if you remember but you canvassed me on Selhurst Road the other day and we had a good conversation about politics. Well just to let you know that I did something that I have never done before in my life and voted for a Tory! Because you are young and passionate and I believe that you will make a difference. So good luck, and if you do get in don’t let me down!’

I sadly did not win that time, but the whole experience taught me a valuable lesson: that if you truly care about your local area, and you listen to the people in the community, then you can make a difference.

” We were all told that the referendum result would be respected; both Labour and the Conservatives ran on a manifesto commitment to do just that. If we betray that trust, then we jeopardise faith in our entire political establishment”

You supported Remain in the EU Referendum.  What’s made you now support us leaving the EU?

Although I did support Remain, I always recognised that there were merits on both sides of the argument. Since the referendum, my excitement about the possibilities for Britain outside the EU has really grown. In the last year I’ve had the privilege of travelling quite a bit, and there’s a real appetite around the world to re-engage with Britain in a way that simply wouldn’t be possible if we were staying in.

However, above and beyond anything else, I am a champion for Brexit because I’m a democrat. I believe we should leave the EU as soon as possible to fulfill the democratic instruction given to us by the British people. I therefore fully support Prime Minister Johnson’s intention that we leave by October 31st.

In the largest vote ever to take place in British history, the people made a clear decision. I am a democrat, and that decision must be implemented. To do otherwise would shake the very foundations of our democracy. 

We were all told that the referendum result would be respected; both Labour and the Conservatives ran on a manifesto commitment to do just that. If we betray that trust, then we jeopardise faith in our entire political establishment – a faith that is already being tested to the limit.

Politicians should not choose which votes they respect and which they do not. We must leave the EU – no ifs, no buts.

“However, even if we can’t secure a deal like this – which I think we can – we must leave the EU, come what may, on 31st October”

What terms would you like to see us leave the EU under?

The ideal terms for Brexit would be to negotiate a comprehensive free trade deal with the EU similar to the arrangement enjoyed by Canada. This kind of deal will allow free trade and relatively little friction on the borders but would not compromise national sovereignty, our ability to set our own laws, control our borders and pursue an ambitious global trade policy. 

However, even if we can’t secure a deal like this – which I think we can – we must leave the EU, come what may, on 31st October.

“Join a political party or residents’ group or local charity – whatever suits you, just do it. Truly the only way to improve things, and to oust bad politicians, is to work hard and push for change locally”

Until recently you were Chief Whip for the Conservatives in the Council. You must have seen a lot of what’s going on.  What are your thoughts more broadly on Croydon Politics?

Our local politics is not in a healthy place. The Labour-run Council actively avoids scrutiny – tens of thousands of residents have signed petitions that are ignored by the Council. Even in official consultations, if the response is not in keeping with Labour’s policy objectives then the results are often sidelined. Residents’ Associations are barely engaged with and whenever a reasonable local resident tries to flag issues with an insensitive development, aggressive councillors routinely shut them down.

The public gets a measly 30 minutes to ask questions at each Council meeting, and there are only 7 meetings each year. The Labour Cabinet members don’t hold public meetings and when a member of the public does get to ask a question often the answer is mealy-mouthed and obstructive.

A confident council should welcome scrutiny. The Opposition can help the (currently Labour) Administration to up their game if they are allowed to do their job properly.  However, at the moment Labour does everything it can to block any attempt at the main parties working together in Croydon’s interests – and so meetings often spiral out of control into childish bickering that debases our community.

But I’m an optimist. There are so many phenomenal people involved in our local politics – whether they’re in a political party or not, so many residents are committed to making our local communities thrive. We may sometimes disagree on the way to get there, but our ultimate goal is the same.

The only way to help Croydon thrive is to get involved. Join a political party or residents’ group or local charity – whatever suits you, just do it. Truly the only way to improve things, and to oust bad politicians, is to work hard and push for change locally.

This is your first time as a parliamentary candidate, has anything come as a surprise from making that step?

Croydon has got huge potential – the potential to be a dynamic, prosperous town that provides opportunities for everyone. I’ve spent 10 years campaigning in Croydon, and the biggest surprise since becoming the candidate is finding out just how many people locally care passionately about our community and how desperately they want it to get better. There have been heated discussions, and the vast majority have shared a common desire to boost our borough. It’s energising to know there’s that hunger out there, and I want to be instrumental in helping to make it happen for my home town.

If you introduce or repeal 3 laws (other than for Brexit) what would they be?

  • Cracking down on crime: A review of sentencing of prolific offenders with a view to creating a clearer expectation of longer and more certain prison sentences for super-prolific offenders. We should continue the Government’s policy of investing in more prison capacity to enable more super-prolific offenders to be jailed and for longer. And we need action to improve and toughen community sentences, suspended sentences and drug rehabilitation programmes – a greater emphasis on rehabilitation is all-important in breaking the cycle that too often drags those leaving the penal system back into a life of crime.
  • Tackling poverty: tax cuts for business should be made conditional on increases in wages for staff on the lowest rates of pay, in order to counter in-work poverty. I would offer corporate tax cuts to firms that increase pay for their staff and these tax cuts should also be used to encourage more training for young and low-paid staff, who are most likely to miss out on support to boost their skills. With near full employment already achieved, the Conservatives are already helping millions, but it’s time to address the root causes of in-work poverty – this is just one policy idea to contribute to achieving that goal.
  • Social mobility: Given that gaps between the advantaged and less advantaged open up before birth and get wider through a child’s formative years, the role of parents and the early years workforce is highly important. The government’s 30-hour free childcare offer has helped many families afford a vital service – but good quality childcare is still out of reach for many. Significantly reducing the lower income limit of eligibility and working with local authorities to specifically target low-income households will help to boost social mobility. I want every kid in Croydon to get the support and services they need so they can achieve their maximum potential in life.

Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?

We’ve currently got a Labour MP in Croydon Central who has voted to block Brexit more than 10 times. The Lib Dems can’t win in Croydon and neither can the Brexit Party – it’s a straight fight between Labour and the Conservatives. If you truly want to deliver Brexit, then the only way to do that is to vote Conservative in the next election, whenever that comes. A vote for any other party is effectively a vote for Labour to stay in power and for our Brexit-blocking MP to continue in her determined effort to circumvent the will of the people.

Don’t let that happen. Croydon deserves better than that.

Mario thank-you for the interview.

Mario can be contact by Facebook, Twitter or email at [email protected]

Support our campaign for sensible Town Hall salaries – TPA in Selsdon

Croydon Council has been a calamity in recent years, but even more shocking we pay a king’s ransom for senior staff that often hinder rather than help the front line. In Selsdon we were asking people to sign an open letter to the leaders of all political parties in Croydon, asking them to agree in future that no newly appointed council employee will earn more than the Prime Minister. 

Further details in our Press Release.

Read our letter at https://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/TPA_Letter2Parties_V2.pdf

Many have already signed, email us at [email protected] to add your name to our letter.

People who have already signed are:

  • Peter Staveley.  Davidson Road, Croydon.
  • Nicholas Mane. Chepstow Road, Croydon
  • David Hooper.  Old Lodge Lane, Purley.
  • Philip Sheppard.  Briar Avenue, Norbury.
  • David Hollands. Honister Heights, Purley.
  • Sheryl Hollands. Honister Heights, Purley.
  • Michael Swadling. Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon.
  • Daniel Heaton. Eden Road, Croydon.
  • Samantha Hall. Coulsdon.
  • Ian Stuart. Elmfield Way, Selsdon.
  • Miranda Beard. Croham Valley Road, South Croydon.
  • Sandra Kennedy. Croham Park Avenue, South Croydon.
  • Karen Barnes. Birdwood Close, Selsdon.
  • Mike Cubitt. Pilgrims Way, South Croydon.
  • Crispin Williams. Fullers Wood, Croydon.

Interview with Alan Cook Brexit Party PPC for Old Bexley and Sidcup

Always keen to support people in Croydon prepared to stand up for Brexit. The Croydon Constitutionalists spoke to Alan Cook the Brexit Party PPC for Old Bexley and Sidcup.

Alan was originally standing in Croydon North. Mike Swadling of this parish stood against the current anti democracy MP Steve Reed OBE in the constituency which included part of the Crystal Palace triangle, Norbury, Thornton Heath, the transport hub of West Croydon and of course the home of football [Mike insert] Crystal Palace.

Old Bexley and Sidcup voted 62% Leave in the referendum and is currently represented by James Brokenshire MP.

Alan thanks for your time.

So tell us a bit about your background and how you found yourself being a Brexit Party Candidate?

My parents were in the services, my father was in the Fleet Air Arm and my mother was in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. I was born in an RAF base in Singapore. We returned with my elder brother to England when I was one year old and briefly lived with family in Thanet. I grew up and was schooled in South East London, I now live in Westminster with my girlfriend and our two daughters. 

By twenty I had secured a position in finance in London, my first day was Black Monday! I discovered there was no prospect of progression within that company due to not having a degree. I very quickly changed industries to Information Technology and what followed was a dream of a career in the City starting at the end of the Thatcher years. 

For many years I have been a member of a parliamentary think tank, amongst other things promoting and progressing leaving the EU. I am a trustee of a local charity, and co-vice chairman of a civic body looking after over 1400 residents and businesses, dealing with the local council, The Met., TfL and the Grosvenor Estate.

I have realised over the last few years that The House of Commons is in dire need of reform, it is lacking MP’s from a normal background. I decided earlier this year to put myself forward as a candidate for The Brexit Party, the only party currently offering political reform. I also requested a South London Constituency, and here I am now.

“a feeling of betrayal over the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties and now I can add May’s new EU treaty to that as well. The voice of the electorate is very clearly being bypassed and ignored”

What first got you involved in politics?

Frustration in the knowledge that the previous leaders of both the main parties have not put the needs of our country first. They have created division and caused lasting damage to the long term prosperity and independence of the UK. Also a feeling of betrayal over the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties and now I can add May’s new EU treaty to that as well. The voice of the electorate is very clearly being bypassed and ignored. Of course I have an overriding conviction that I can do so much better. Better for Croydon North and better for the country as a whole.

Any stories from previous campaign trails that have stuck in your memory?

I spent a week in Wales helping The Brexit Party before the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election. I took some time off from the normal day to day canvassing and joined our candidate Des Parkinson for a tour of the constituency on the Brexit Bus. Little did I know how dangerous such a pursuit was going to be. There are a lot of trees in Wales, and some very low tree canopies that span the whole road. If anyone on the bus shouted “tree” you didn’t have time to look and would duck or throw yourself to the floor with great speed. The only one who was truly safe on the top deck was the T-shirt wearing Brexit Dog who just happened to be called Nigel. At one stage on our journey the Brexit bus was being lead and flanked by two dozen escaped bullocks, it was at that stage someone on the top deck shouted the very memorable, “Bullocks for Brexit“.

You were originally standing in Croydon North where you follow Winston McKenzie and our own Mike Swadling in standing as a Pro-Brexit candidate in Croydon North.  What were you focusing on to make a breakthrough?

Thanks to the work of previous Pro-Brexit candidates in the Croydon area, I was not starting from the beginning but I have a foundation to build from. Brexit is now more in the public conscience than it has ever has been. I am not here alone, The Brexit Party has broken all political records with its rapidly growing supporter base. The battle isn’t just about leaving the expensive and corrupt EU institution it is about protecting our democracy and it’s about political reform. People are sick to the back teeth with the undemocratic MPs who currently sit in the House of Commons. They are clearly not following the wishes of and are not acting in the best interests of the electorate.

What are your thoughts on Croydon Politics?

Croydon is in an envious and very unique position, it is an outer London borough with easy, quick train access to central London,16 minutes, but it is also very much a business hub of its own and indeed an international business location. With easy and quick train access to both St. Pancras International Station and Gatwick Airport the future potential of the tri-constituency area is huge. This unique situation needs to be highlighted to and recognised by the government. My constituency, Croydon North, deserves the highest calibre representation in the commons to reflect this. This is why I am dedicating myself to becoming the MP for the area.

“I have found myself happily discussing politics in groups of people with different ideologies. As long as you are pro UK, pro Europe and you put the interests of our amazing country before that of the EU you have a home in The Brexit Party”

What surprised you most about getting actively involved in politics?

That’s an easy question to answer, it is the people you meet, the true diversity of those who have joined The Brexit Party is staggering. I am not just referring to race and religion but everything – across the board, from their locations, vocations and especially their political stance. It doesn’t matter where you are on the political spectrum, be it central, right or left wing, every day I have found myself happily discussing politics in groups of people with different ideologies. As long as you are pro UK, pro Europe and you put the interests of our amazing country before that of the EU you have a home in The Brexit Party. People where travelling from the tip of Scotland and from Continental Europe to volunteer and help The Brexit Party at both of the recent by-elections.

If you introduce or repeal 3 laws (other than for Brexit) what would they be?

I am a huge fan of democracy so I wouldn’t wish to repeal any law that has been democratically arrived at. I know you said other than Brexit, however, there are two things which I have previously mentioned The Lisbon and Maastricht treaties. Now both of these should have of gone to the electorate for a vote, but the polls at the time suggested neither would of have a favourable result, so they were pushed through without public consultation. Since then there has been the ‘in and out’ referendum which should, in practice, remove these two undemocratically installed treaties from the UK constitution.

Back to non Brexit. I do love food, I should be a lot bigger than I am. I am passionate about UK produce and high welfare meat. I would definitely change UK labelling laws to give the consumer all knowledge available and not just what the industry wants us to see.

I would also like to see a completely different model for prisons, with a far greater emphasis on vocational education. On release everyone should be in a better situation having hopefully learned a trade or gained further education, ambition and hope for their future.

I will add a fourth one to end with, I would like to make MPs more accountable to their constituency voters. I am open to suggestions from voters for this one, so please do email me with suggestions.

Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?

Politics used to be discussed over a pint in pubs, but people no longer dare talk about politics in case others have opposing views. We need to get back to talking and debating. It is fine to have a different point of view, this is healthy and normal for society. There is no place for anger and aggression in politics it needs to be removed and replaced with discussion.

Alan thank-you for the interview.

Alan can be contacted by email at [email protected] and followed on twitter at https://twitter.com/T_Alan_Cook.

Freedom of speech…. just watch what you say… – Live event 18th September Croydon

The Croydon Constitutionalists are delighted to announce that the Brexit Alliance London Assembly Member David Kurten, Harry Fone Grassroots Campaign Manager for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Izzy Montague a Croydon mum and Christian who challenged a local school over forced ‘pride’ celebration and Sean Finch Libertarian Party candidate in the Lewisham East by-election, will be speaking at our live event in Croydon on the 18th September.

‘Freedom of speech…. just watch what you say…’ will be a series of speeches from free speech advocates followed by a Q&A. 

Our freedom of speech is being eroded by both government and private institutions, come and support this event and our fundamental freedom!

Further guest to be announced soon.  Put the 18th September in your diary.

The event will be held upstairs at the Green Dragon, 60 High St, Croydon CR0 1NA from 7pm.

David Kurten
Harry Fone
Sean Finch
Izzy Montague

You can just turn up on the night or book via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/freedom-of-speech-just-watch-what-you-say-tickets-72303169727

https://leaversofbritain.co.uk/events/freedom-of-speech-just-watch-what-you-say/

Interview with Yasmin Fitzpatrick Brexit Party PPC for East Surrey.

Supporting pro-Brexit candidates in our area. The Croydon Constitutionalists caught up with Yasmin Fitzpatrick Brexit Party PPC for East Surrey.

Yasmin has worked for the NHS, as a language teacher and a television executive at Channel 4. In East Surrey she is up against the existing MP Sam Gyimah.

Sam has had some national attention, and local difficulties for failing to respect the manifesto he ran on and the vote of the British people. Indeed the Leavers of Croydon spent some time in Caterham putting pressure on him https://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/a-great-day-in-caterham-putting-pressure-on-sam-gyimah-mp/.

Having already made somewhat of a splash locally being written up in the local paper https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/brexit-party-makes-bid-oust-16827232, Yasmin spoke with the Croydon Constitutionalists.

Yasmin thanks for the interview.

You’ve worked for Channel 4 and in Education, this doesn’t seem a likely background for a candidate for the Brexit Party.

There are so many myths about voting Brexit and the Brexit Party itself –  I hope I can explode a few of them!

There are people in television, in the NHS, in schools who voted Leave – but they tend to be in a minority in the public sector and in the media, even though they tend to underestimate their own numbers and they honestly fear for their jobs if they say openly how they voted and what they think.  I know from personal experience that Remainers can be extremely intolerant in the workplace, especially where they feel they are in the majority.  They can make things uncomfortable for people who do not agree with them and do not uphold freedom of speech in practice, often demonising opponents by branding them as racist, stupid or misguided. 

“Recently, someone high up in television whispered to me that they had voted Leave and begged me not to tell anyone – so of course I won’t – but I’m sad that we can’t feel free to express differing political opinions”

One of my concerns is that political discussion in general has coarsened:  people attack the person, rather than their ideas when they disagree. Recently, someone high up in television whispered to me that they had voted Leave and begged me not to tell anyone – so of course I won’t – but I’m sad that we can’t feel free to express differing political opinions, because that’s how we test out and refine our own thoughts and opinions.

Many of us think of somewhere like Channel 4 has a metropolitan group think, is that fair or unfair?

I think it’s fair to say there’s a bit of ‘metropolitan bubble’ in some of the bigger cities. Certainly in London, we have grown used to hearing little or nothing from anywhere else in the UK. Many of the people I know when asked, confess that they have never spoken to anyone who says they voted Brexit and so tend to make assumptions about them based on what they are told by other people in the same bubble.  When they talk to me, they concede that I’m not racist or stupid – so I must be sadly deluded!

Journalists, with a few honourable exceptions, and news outlets generally, do have a lot to answer for when it comes to peddling myths and prejudice about people who voted to leave the EU and spend little or no time talking to or generally engaging with them.  I am always impressed when a Leaver pops up on Question Time or in a news item: they invariably speak out in ways that surprise, inform and often impress listeners.  If BBC, ITV and Channel 4 news over the recent period had fairly and impartially represented the 52% of the electorate who voted Leave in their news coverage, I doubt we’d have had the misinformed hysteria we witnessed on the streets over the weekend.

And it would be good to hear more from all those elected MEPs from the Brexit Party!

What first got you involved in politics?

I grew up mostly in Belfast, even though I was born in London and lived for a few years in Germany when I was a child. I lived on a Loyalist housing estate in Belfast and my Irish grandfather was in the Orange Order, although my mother was passionately anti-sectarian. My father was a Muslim businessman, whose family had had to flee India during Partition and had arrived in Pakistan with the clothes they stood up in.  So I had a lot to be curious about. I got involved in left-wing organisations and activities that allowed me to understand and move beyond my own immediate experience.

The Brexit Party was an easy choice for me: increasingly, I have seen what used to be the left in Britain become increasingly intolerant and irrelevant when it comes to standing up for freedom of speech – and now for democracy itself. Increasingly, they talk to themselves.

The left effectively abandoned Labour Party voters who wanted to leave the EU and then condemned them for it.  That’s what finally confirmed to me that the old left/centre/right divisions are now irrelevant – but so are the old left/centre/right political machines, who make policy over our heads, with scant regard for their own supporters.

I’m in the Brexit Party because firstly, I want the wishes of the majority of the electorate to be enacted and leave the EU; secondly, I want to help build the kind of political party that will represent the people in their constituencies, at a local, national and international level, without deferring to a party political machine. Will that happen?  I hope people join us and make sure it does!

” I also want to make sure that I help reconnect political decision-making with the people, so they can get on with their lives, knowing that their opinions are respected and their concerns properly addressed.”

You’re standing against Sam Gyimah, someone we’ve organised our own events to protest against.  Any thoughts on your opponent?

Well, I respect Sam Gyimah for sticking to his principles – but if he is not even prepared to support his own Party’s commitment to leaving the EU, as set out very clearly in their 2017 manifesto, I think he needs to consider his position.  People often feel they can’t trust their politicians to speak for them when they reach Westminster: I have no commitment to advancing the interests of a party machine at the expense of the people.  I have no private agenda for self-advancement at all costs. I simply want to honour the decision people made in the EU Referendum and help bring that political and economic dividend home to all of the the voters in East Surrey. I also want to make sure that I help reconnect political decision-making with the people, so they can get on with their lives, knowing that their opinions are respected and their concerns properly addressed.

What are your thoughts on East Surrey Politics?

I’m not sure that it’s a great idea for politicians to feel that their seat is so safe, that their majority is so large, that they can take the electorate for granted. I obviously think it’s time for a change: important local matters will also form part of my campaigning – more about that later.  I also want voters to tell me what they think matters:  let’s see what we can do locally, alongside the national election campaign.

What surprised you most about getting actively involved in politics?

I was incredibly impressed when I met many of the other prospective parliamentary candidates who got through the rigorous Brexit Party selection procedures. Such a wide range of lived experience, from every region and from every walk of life. People who spoke with passion and intelligence about the need for a politically independent UK. People who genuinely cared about the future for their locality and region, as well as the UK as a whole. And people who are open to and tolerant of others.

Being involved in the Brexit Party also currently means working a lot of things out as we go along. Party policy is still in development and we all need to be involved in that –  remember, the Party as currently constituted has only been in existence since April – but you can’t rush policy making.  For us, it’s not about making promises we won’t keep once the elections are over – that’s what has contributed to the erosion of trust in politicians and politics more generally.

If you introduce or repeal 3 laws (other than for Brexit) what would they be?

I’d prefer not to make policy on the hoof at this stage. I’ll be looking to defend personal freedoms, hold politicians to account,  try to ensure that the many different voices of people in the UK are respected and that people are treated fairly.

Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?

Boris Johnson has played some good moves against his political opponents. But BEWARE! If you voted to leave the EU, don’t be side-tracked in the coming weeks by any reheated May deal offerings, with or without the backstop.  I’ve looked at the Withdrawal Agreement – there are at least four reasons why we should reject it and walk away without a deal:

1. we would not be able to develop new trade deals whilst in this ‘transitional period’  and that period could go on indefinitely;

2. despite remaining in the EU, we‘d have no right to vote, no voice in debate and no veto over existing or any new legislation;

3. we would continue to be hit by EU rules and those billions of pounds of EU membership fees;

4. To add final insult to injury, it isn’t clear whether we’d ever be able to leave the EU without the consent of the 27 other member states. No, non, nein!

I say, Vote for the Brexit Party to ensure we walk away from bad deals, keep up the pressure on Government to build a political and economic future under our own control and hold all our politicians to account both now and after we leave. A tall order!

Yasmin thanks again for the interview.

Yasmin can be contacted by email at [email protected] followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yasminfitzppc, and she is already taking the fight to anti-democracy Sam as below.

https://twitter.com/yasminfitzppc/status/1167752670569992193?s=20

Interview with Peter Sonnex Brexit Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Croydon South

Londoner Peter Sonnex has been just been announced as the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Brexit Party in Croydon South.

Peter, an Army Veteran and London bus driver, will contest the constituency in the next general election standing against Conservative Chris Philp MP.

“It is as humbling as it is daunting to be selected as the PPC for Croydon South. The outpouring of local support has been extraordinary for an ordinary chap not used to being thrust into the public eye – but, I am ready – now is the time to stand up for ourselves and our democracy”

Peter Sonnex

Serving in the Falkland Islands, Bosnia Herzegovina, Iraq and elsewhere, Pater is a former Chief of Staff at the Royal School of Military Engineering. Today he drives a double-decker London bus, as part of a glidepath to what was going to be a quiet retirement in Biggin Hill. Peter likes to say as a former bomb disposal officer “if you see me running, do your best to keep up…”

“I am delighted Peter is our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Croydon South. He brings a wealth of real world leadership experience from some of the most challenging environments as a Veteran, and none too few insights now as a London bus driver. He has been a selfless representative, one way or another, for most of his life; his is ready to represent Croydon South.”

Ben Habib MEP

Keen to support any who puts themselves up in favour of a real Brexit. The Croydon Constitutionalists spoke to Peter to find out about the man who might represent one third of our borough.

Peter thanks for the interview….

You spent many years serving in the army, any good stories from that time?

The enduring service and sacrifice of extraordinary young men and women will stay with me forever. I am still not sure, even in the aftermath of two World Wars, that the public at large really appreciate what it means to send volunteers – very deliberately to this day – into harm’s way in the UK national interest. I am very encouraged by the establishment of a department for Veterans Affairs in Whitehall. Access to housing and healthcare should be genuine priorities for local authorities if we are truly to show we value our Armed Forces and their families.

That’s the serious bit!
The Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst is where all Army Officers are trained. It is where we learn that we have to Serve to Lead – eating last and looking after the soldiers we are given the privilege to command. Sandhurst is also where the vital sense of humour is honed, led by the Senior Non Commissioned Officers: Pointing animatedly at an officer cadet, an SNCO said, “There is something nasty on the end of my pace stick, sir” – “Not my end, staff” came the cheery, but seriously misjudged reply…!

“No rules with no predictable response to any given action was hugely unsettling. This was a graphic example of what the absence of democracy, tolerance and respect for the rule of law looks like.”

You’ve been stationed in the Falkland Islands, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Iraq, what surprised you most about each place?

You say stationed when extreme camping may be a better description. As Military Engineers, we may be called upon to build accommodation where there is none for our troops, beginning in the past with the bar! In the Falkland Islands, we began with poncho shelters, pitched tents to be ripped apart in gale force winds, and once we had built weatherproof containerised barracks we moved on to the next windswept wilderness to start all over again.

During 7 months in Iraq in 2003, I spent 3 nights with a roof over my head, albeit in one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces in Al Basrah. Bosnia and Herzegovina was rather different: feeling like rural southern Germany; a short flight away; and, Europeans like us, but gripped in the most awful tribal conflict. Stark was the absence of rules or proportionality with barbaric inhumanity displayed on all sides. No rules with no predictable response to any given action was hugely unsettling. This was a graphic example of what the absence of democracy, tolerance and respect for the rule of law looks like.

What first got you involved in politics?

I have been largely apolitical for most of my life. If pushed, I have described myself as a social democrat with no natural home to the left of centre. I have really been driven to serve my soldiers, Her Majesty’s Government and the will of Parliament whatever the flavour. I have been deployed on operations under Conservative, Labour and coalition governments. Things unravelled a bit in Iraq in 2003 when I was unconvinced our dogs of war were being unleashed as a last resort. The Foreign Secretary and Minister for International Development had resigned and we were woefully inadequate in fulfilling our obligations to the people of Iraq as the Occupying Power. Please don’t get me going on the Chilcot Inquiry, Public Interest Lawyers and the Iraq Historical Allegations Team… I served as an official in the MOD in Whitehall under Labour, coalition and Conservative Governments with only minor challenges to accommodate principles and party political lines, but there were some…

Really, I am only now engaging with politics because an overly heated and emotional debate over Brexit (what else would divide families) with my son ended with him saying, “so dad, what are you going to do about it?” Well, I could take to the streets with my Guido Fawkes mask – yes, I do own one! Given the Brexit mess, I felt compelled to attend the Brexit Party launch in Coventry and the rally in Birmingham the following day – in part to see what they might be about. I signed up to be a supporter and be considered as an MEP candidate for the EU Parliamentary elections.

My EU application was rolled over into the vetting and interview process for prospective parliamentary candidates. From over 4000 applicants and over 1300 interviews, I was as surprised as anyone to actually pop out the other side as a Brexit Party PPC.

What do you think is next for Brexit?

Well, if I was to trust our political leaders, I would have said the question should be moot. How many times were we told we would be leaving the EU on 29 March 2019? Or, that no deal is better than a bad deal? We are now being told we are leaving on 31 October “do or die, deal or no deal”. There are, I fear, many more painful weeks of political shenanigans to come before any of us actually know what is next. Personally, I think it is further humiliating delay and more chaos only slightly ahead of leaving without a deal. Throw in the prospect of an election and your guess is as good as mine…

Be clear though, if the PM commits to and delivers a clean break Brexit by 31 October, if asked I will step aside as a candidate – putting country before party.

Dealing with a remainer incumbent who voted for the Withdrawal Agreement is another matter, but that will be for Boris and Nigel to figure out…

What are your thoughts on Croydon Politics?

Trust appears to be a whopping issue. Trust in politics and trust in our elected representatives needs to be restored; they serve us, not the other way around. Housing and public transport appear to be ever-present challenges for Croydon. House building numbers hide poor design, small rooms and overdevelopment producing “slums of the future.” Transport links through Croydon South look enviable on a map until you overlay delays and poorly planned and announced engineering works.

I am always going to be on the lookout for exemplary implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant, supporting our Armed Forces and Veterans locally.

What surprised you most about getting actively involved in politics?

It really gets personal, and fast!

It doesn’t look efficient and effective from the outside. It is even less so on the inside… Beyond the restoration of trust, there are plenty of things that require reform – mostly to achieve less government and less politics.

“I would look at anything that may be holding back entrepreneurs and wealth creation. We must educate ourselves, train and innovate: it is what made Britain Great!”

If you introduce or repeal 3 laws (other than for Brexit) what would they be?

As a representative, not a politician – my first duty would be to listen. Then, if I said I was going to do something, I would actually do it. Now wouldn’t that be new! You are pressing me, so. I would look at anything that may be holding back entrepreneurs and wealth creation. We must educate ourselves, train and innovate: it is what made Britain Great!

The corollary is to ensure tax revenues are better distributed to provide a level playing field across the Borough to provide inspirational and aspirational education, first class healthcare, community services, social services and public transport.

Thirdly, there are the emergency services, law and order. We should all enjoy a protected and safe environment – one in which we learn to respect each other and the intervention of authority when necessary.

What do you see as your party’s route to electoral success?

Well, who can you trust? I cannot find anyone who doesn’t think we need to change politics for good. The career politicians and the political classes have never been more out of touch. Let’s do something about that. Let’s feel properly represented.

We have incredible prospects as a sovereign, independent nation able to do whatever we want in the national interest in relation to our laws, borders and money. It is in our national interest to be outward looking, reaching out to our European friends and those in the Commonwealth and the rest of the world. It is in our national interest to protect the oppressed and the disadvantaged at home and abroad. The UK Aid budget must be used effectively in the UK national interest.

Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?

I am exhausted, and we aren’t even in campaign mode. But, I am ready! And, I am building a great team.

Peter thanks again for agreeing to be interviewed by us.

Peter can be found on twitter at https://twitter.com/SonnexPeter which also hosts his introductory video.

Press Release – CROYDON CONSTITUTIONALISTS TEAM UP WITH TAXPAYERS’ ALLIANCE TO SHINE A LIGHT ON WASTEFUL COUNCIL SPENDING

TPA Town Hall Rich List reveals massive 6 figure salaries paid to fat cats at Croydon council.

Despite a bumper salary of £212,000 for the Chief Executive we still have an ’Inadequate’ Children’s Services department, a Westfield Shopping centre development going nowhere and ongoing bin collection problems in Croydon.

Croydon Council has been a calamity in recent years, but even more shocking we pay a king’s ransom for senior staff that often hinder rather than help the front line.

That’s not just our view that’s the feedback we’ve had from the two Road Shows the TaxPayers’ Alliance held in Croydon (https://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/the-taxpayers-alliance-town-hall-rich-list-roadshow-croydon/) and Addiscombe (https://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/the-taxpayers-alliance-town-hall-rich-list-roadshow-in-addiscombe-saturday-13th-july/).  So overwhelmed by the feedback the TaxPayers’ Alliance are holding a third stall in the borough.  This time in Selsdon on Saturday 7th September, between 10:30am and 1pm.

“Many locals are outraged that council bosses are receiving six-figure pay packets whilst front line services are in disarray. Council tax rose by four per cent last year and many will wonder where taxpayers’ money has gone. Spending on council fat cats needs to be brought under control immediately.”

Harry Fone the TaxPayers’ Alliance’s Grassroots Campaign Manager. 

In Selsdon we will be asking people to sign an open letter to the leaders of all political parties in Croydon, asking them to agree in future that no newly appointed council employee will earn more than the Prime Minister.  We have made contracts with those already in post, but surely we can all agree, with all its challenges running Croydon shouldn’t pay more than running Britain.

Members of the Croydon Constitutionalists and TaxPayers’ Alliance’s staff will be available for interviews and photo ops on the day.”

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Michael Swadling or email at [email protected].