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