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Feltham & Heston interview: Andrew Charalambous, UKIP candidate

Thursday, 1 December, 2011 4 comments

Earlier this week The West Londoner spoke to the UK Independence Party’s candidate for the Feltham and Heston by-election happening this month, Andrew Charalambous.

He is the party’s Housing spokesman and stood for the Conservatives in Edmonton in the general election before defecting.

Why are you standing for Feltham & Heston?

“UKIP are on about 11 per cent in the national polls now and it’s high time the party had its first member of parliament,” says Charalambous. “It would change the entire political landscape and every by election is an opportunity.”

“I think the majority of people at the moment are suffering. We’re sending 50 million every day to the EU,” says the 44-year-old property developer. “That money should be invested in Britain.”

What will you do if you are elected as Feltham & Heston’s MP?

“We need to invest more money into making council services better and we need to make it easier for people to exercise the right to buy,” says Charalambous. “People will not exercise their right to buy if their property or their council estate as a whole are not in the right condition so we need to work on that.”

He adds: “There’s a lot of young gangs hanging around the council estates making the more vulnerable sections of the population feel uncomfortable.

“We need to create more jobs and more investment. If you look at the M4 corridor we have BSkyB and others. We could bring those people further in to Feltham and Heston.”

“We should encourage young enterprise. Business mentors can offer guidance to young people. We could give local businesses a reduction on their business rates. There’s a difference between the national economy and the local economy; building enterprise from the bottom up.”

You speak a lot about youth; what about other sections of the population?

“I think it’s a scandal how we treat our elderly. If you’re elderly you’re more likely to be a victim of discrimination and of crime. We understand that younger people find it hard in this economic climate; how much harder is it if you’re 85, wheelchair bound , disabled, blind, and trying to deal with the current economic climate then? Looking at provisions for care and facilities for the elderly is very important.”

“The Conservatives haven’t implemented policies they said they would have prevented many of our elderly dying because of fuel poverty. They don’t earn enough from their pensions, that’s the bottom line.

How would you fund your plans?

“We would fund them by not wasting £50 million a day on Europe. We’ve got probably a quarter more public sector workers than we need.”

“Britain spent money on – let’s not hide this – two or three useless wars from which the British people haven’t benefited at all. You may have heard about the ex-soldier who came back to Heston and can’t get housing. This is how we treat our heroes. If UKIP were in a position to influence government we would have stood against these unnecessary wars.”

“If you take the local council it needs to be more transparent. We need to cut down the pay of council executives to three or four figure sums. We need to make these people accountable for their spending and we need them to stop spending money on political correctness and self promoting budgets.”

UKIP has an enduring image of being a party affected by race. Is that true?

“We are in no way a racist party. We have members from all races, colours and backgrounds. UKIP is a party that says immigration isn’t a negative thing – the country need a degree of immigration. We believe that we need to integrate the people who are already here. I think withdrawing from Europe is the best way, which means we won’t have to take the half a million people a year coming from Europe. Then we can give more priority to people coming, for example, from the Indian subcontinent.”

Transparency statement: the UKIP press office contacted The West Londoner to offer us the interview. If you work for a political party with a candidate standing in Feltham & Heston, please use the Contact Us link to get in touch.

Categories: Hounslow, News Tags: , ,

Feltham baggage handler jailed for Heathrow thefts

Friday, 25 November, 2011 Leave a comment

A Heathrow baggage handler has been imprisoned for rifling through passengers’ luggage.

Jailed: Alan Bardell is serving six months for stealing airline passengers' valuables.

Alan Bardall, 52, of The Gardens, Feltham, appeared at Isleworth Crown Court today where he was sentenced to six months for six counts of theft and four counts of attempted theft.

Police officers at the Heathrow Crime Squad mounted a covert operation which identified Bardall, who was responsible for routing transit passengers’ luggage to the right destinations, was stealing valuables from the bags he was entrusted with.

Detectives arrested Bardall at home on Monday 13 June, and searched his address. A Sony camcorder and a laptop were recovered. He was formally charged on 19th October.

Further enquiries established that Bardall had been responsible for stealing £2,000 worth of valuables.

In a bid to reunite the stolen electronic items with their rightful owners, officers examined the material held on them. It was established that the laptop – containing a whole year’s coursework – belonged to an American student working in Ireland. Officers were able to pinpoint the owner of the camcorder by looking at photographs held on its memory card. The hotel that the victim had been staying at was identified, and officers were then able to determine a name via the hotel and the airline manifest.

The camcorder belonged to Renate Klaus, of Austria, who had visited London with her fiancé for the first time. She took over 800 photographs during her stay.

Klaus said: “I am so grateful that I got all my property back! It was my first time in London, and I was thrilled from the city, that’s why I had taken so many pictures. Now I can be happy again and think of the wonderful London. I will certainly visit again. My special thanks go to PC Chris Ladmore. Without his help all would have been lost.”

PC Ladmore said: “Any theft is distressing, but experiencing loss following a holiday is particularly awful. We are delighted to have reunited Renate with her camcorder and more importantly her precious photo and video memories of London.”

Image via comedy_nose, Flickr.

UKIP and Conservatives fast off the mark in Feltham by-election

Friday, 25 November, 2011 2 comments

The UK Independence Party and the Conservatives have both announced their candidates for the Feltham and Heston by-election next month.

Mark Bowen and Andrew Charalambous are both contesting Feltham & Heston.

Following the death of Alan Keen MP, who passed away aged 73 earlier this month, Parliament moved a writ to hold a by-election in the Hounslow constituency.

Standing for the Conservatives is Mark Bowen, who fought the seat in both 2005 and 2010.

Bowen is leader of the Conservative group on Hounslow Borough Council. Commenting on his selection, Bowen said it was a “privilege” to be the Conservative candidate.

“Having lived in the constituency for the past 13 years, it really is a great honour and I am extremely proud of my local area,” he said. “I have been a councillor for the last 9 years and have fought the last two general elections as the Conservative Candidate.”

Meanwhile, UKIP’s housing spokesman, Andrew Charalambous, will contest the seat for the anti-EU party.

Charalambous, 39, is a London-based property developer. Last year he stood as a Conservative Party candidate in Edmonton. He said: “It is a great honour to be standing for UKIP and I will use every bit of I energy I possess to campaign tirelessly to give UKIP its first MP in Westminster. I have stood for parliament before and I know the effort required. Previously, I stood as a Conservative, but that party has let everybody down which is why I am now standing for UKIP.”

The by-election will be held on 15th December. At the time of writing no other major party has declared its candidates.

Feltham Labour MP dies of cancer

Friday, 18 November, 2011 1 comment

Labour MP Alan Keen has lost his battle with cancer and died aged 73.

An MP for Feltham and Heston since 1992 is well known for his passion for football and worked as a scout before joining politics.

He was chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on football and a member of the commons, culture, media and sports committee.

Mr Keen was half of the parliamentary husband and wife team with British Labour MP Ann Keen. However they hit the headlines and were dubbed ‘Mr and Mrs Expenses’ when they were caught to be claiming House of Commons expenses on a second home. They were told to repay £1,500.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown led the tributes to the long-serving Labour MP, saying: “Alan was a great MP locally popular, diligent London MP, and a great fighter for local causes.”

His personal welcome message on his website says: “If you need my help – please do not hesitate to contact me in my Westminster office.”

Mr Keen served in the British Army for three years before joining the fire protecting industry, and later worked for Middlesborough FCC for 18 years.

He was a member of Hounslow Borough council from 1986-1990 before entering Parliament in 1992.

Trick or Treat?

Monday, 31 October, 2011 1 comment

According to a recent survey commissioned by Santander Insurance, 1 in 5 people would support banning Trick or Treating following the riots which swept across London earlier this year. 

Around 22%  of people surveyed believe that the yearly custom should have an outright ban, while 50% said that parental accompaniment should be compulsory in order to control the behaviour of children.

Furthermore, 43% of people would support a ban on people wearing masks which obscure the face over Halloween, and over a third of people asked would support a ban on people wearing hooded tops.

Andy Smith, head of media relations at Santander, said: “The summer’s riots resulted in a huge amount of innocent people becoming victims of crime. Our research would suggest that there is genuine concern about any more criminal damage or anti-social behaviour taking place in the period that surrounds Halloween and bonfire night – a period which many people already find intimidating”.

Are these fears founded or is it a lot of fuss about nothing? We want to know what you think: 

MPs split over EU vote

Tuesday, 25 October, 2011 1 comment

David Cameron faced what can arguably be seen as the biggest test of his leadership yesterday as a backbench motion calling for a referendum on Europe caused a massive rift within the House of Commons.

The decision of Cameron and Miliband not to allow a free vote within Parliament, opting for a three-line whip in the hope of controlling MPs votes, was met with fierce criticism from both The Commons and the general public.

After a five-hour debate on the pros and cons of EU membership and why the public should or should not be allowed to determine our future within Europe, 483 MPs voted to reject the motion, with only 111 voting in favour leaving a majority of 372 out of a total of 650 MPs in the House of Commons.

This result has sparked uncertainty over the future of several MPs within their parties. Grassroots reaction from Twitter and other social media sources suggest widespread public dissatisfaction with the result of the vote.

Twitter user Edward Butler-Ellis, who tweets under the username @EdwardBE1 and describes himself as an ‘avid Conservative campaigner’ said: “how is the #eureferendum a distraction for parliament? The EU is the single largest influence over the UK, don’t insult us. #referendumNOW

charlotteahenry, a self-described liberal, said: “Fuming about today’s self indulgent antics in Parliament, given what’s going on in the real world. Do MPs still wonder why nobody cares?”

Meanwhile, Labour supporter Shereef Abdallah (@Sheik74Shereef ) said: “Cameron is sleep walking to disaster. Even after the Euro vote, what happens if UK has d.dip recession ? Govt won’t survive till 2015.”

The list of rebels is as follows:

Conservative

Stuart Andrew

Steve Baker

John Baron

Andrew Bingham

Brian Binley

Bob Blackman

Peter Bone

Graham Brady

Andrew Bridgen

Steve Brine

Fiona Bruce

Dan Byles

Douglas Carswell

Bill Cash

Christopher Chope

James Clappison

Tracey Crouch

David T.C. Davies

Philip Davies

David Davis

Nick du Bois

Caroline Dinenage

Nadine Dorries

Richard Drax

Mark Field

Lorraine Fullbrook

Zac Goldsmith

James Gray

Chris Heaton-Harris

Gordon Henderson

George Hollingbery

Philip Hollobone

Stewart Jackson

Bernard Jenkin

Marcus Jones

Chris Kelly

Andrea Leadsom

Jeremy Lefroy

Edward Leigh

Dr. Julian Lewis

Karen Lumley

Jason McCartney

Karl McCartney

Stephen McPartland

Anne Main

Patrick Mercer

Nigel Mills

Anne-Marie Morris

James Morris

Stephen Mosely

Sheryll Murray

Caroline Nokes

David Nuttall

Matthew Offord

Neil Parish

Priti Patel

Andrew Percy

Mark Pritchard

Mark Reckless

John Redwood

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Simon Reevell

Laurence Robertson

Andrew Rosindell

Richard Shepherd

Henry Smith

John Stevenson

Bob Stewart

Gary Streeter

Julian Sturdy

Sir Peter Tapsell

Justin Tomlinson

Andrew Turner

Martin Vickers

Charles Walker

Robin Walker

Heather Wheeler

Craig Whittaker

John Whittingdale

Dr. Sarah Wollaston

Labour

Ronnie Campbell

Rosie Cooper

Jeremy Corbyn

Jon Cruddas

John Cryer

Ian Davidson

Natascha Engel

Frank Field

Roger Godsiff

Kate Hoey

Kelvin Hopkins

Steve McCabe

John McDonnell

Austin Mitchell

Dennis Skinner

Andrew Smith

Graham Stringer

Gisela Stuart

Mike Wood

Lib Dem

Adrian Sanders

Democratic Unionist Party

Gregory Campbell

Nigel Dodds

Jeffrey Donaldson

Dr. William McCrea

Ian Paisley Jr.

Jim Shannon

David Simpson

Sammy Wilson

Green

Caroline Lucas

Independent

Lady Hermon

POSITIVE ABSTENTIONS (Went through both Aye & No lobbies) 2

Ian Stewart (Conservative)

Mike Weatherley (Conservative)


Chiswick cocaine trio jailed.

Tuesday, 23 August, 2011 3 comments

Three men, who have been linked to a haul of cocaine and thousands of pounds in cash, have been jailed for a total of 21 years, reports the Metropolitan Police. 

The men were apprehended by detectives from the Central Task Force after £1.3 million worth of cocaine was recovered from an address in west London and two vehicles used by the defendants.

Following a further search of the property in Grove Park Gardens, Hounslow, £500,000 was discovered hidden in various locations.

Naim Haziri, 32; Harvey O’Neill, 27; and Francis Butler, 48, were sentenced on Friday 19th August at Kingston Crown Court after pleading guilty to various offences.

Detectives carried out a search warrant at the premises, where they found a kilo of cocaine concealed within four socks hidden in a plastic bag. Within a bed base in one of the bedrooms officers recovered four plastic bags containing cash amounting to around £200,000. Inside a safe, hidden within a concealed comportment of a wardrobe, a further £300,000 was seized.

The occupier of the house, Francis Butler, told officers he was looking after the stash of cash and drugs on behalf of an unnamed individual. He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Further inquiries identified a lock-up premises linked to O’Neill located in a remote country lane in the High Wycombe area. Inside officers discovered a safe containing items used for wrapping drugs and a cocaine press.

Two vehicles used by this network were subsequently searched and a further 2 kilos of cocaine recovered. The vehicles had secret compartments where the drugs were concealed.

Francis Butler

Naim Haziri

Harvey O'Neill

Naim Haziri, 32, from Northolt and Harvey O’Neill, 27, from Ruislip, both pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply  and were sentenced to eight years each.  Francis Butler, 48, from Hounslow, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply and money laundering and was sentenced to five and a half years on each count. The sentences will run concurrently.