Nigel Farage, Leader, UK Independence Party
The UK Independence Party had some useful coverage last weekend as parliament begins its debate over the EU Constitution.
First was an appearance by Lord Pearson on the BBC1 Daily Politics show with Andrew Neil on Friday.
On Saturday Nigel Farage was on the LBC politics show, reporting a debate at the Fabian Society, then he appeared on the BBC 24 news programme. On Sunday he was a guest on GMTV, afterwards travelling across London to debate the treaty with Adam Boulton on SKY TV.
It was an early start for Nigel on Monday when he had to face a hostile interview with James Naughtie on the Radio 4 Today programme. He was later invited to answer calls on the treaty for half an hour on the Talkback Radio John Gaunt show, but this stretched to an hour and three quarters because of the volume of phone calls – mainly supportive. Then there was a quick sprint down the corridors of Millbank Studios to be interviewed by BBC News 24.
Add to this comments on various BBC websites and debate with Europhile Labour MP Mark Hendrick on Sky News, repeated mentions on radio bulletins on LBC, Talksport and the BBC and we can be pleased with a successful start to the campaign.
Top Tory councillor defects to UKIP
The leader of the Conservative Group on the Stevenage Borough Council, Councillor Marion Mason, has defected to the UK Independence Party. She has been a Conservative for more than 25 years and has served as a councillor for the last eight years .
Ms Mason is in her third term and is not due to stand for re-election until 2010. She will serve the rest of her term as a UKIP councillor. Her decision to join UKIP was taken after a great deal of soul-searching because of her long-term membership of the Conservative Party, during which she was very active and committed.
However, Ms Mason believes that leaving the European Union is the only way forward and this is not an option the Conservative Party is prepared to consider. “It is thought by some to be a drastic move, but now it is the only thing that we can do to stop the EU gaining more and more control over Britain and to tackle many of the issues facing the country, particularly immigration and the unacceptable pressure it is putting on the infrastructure of the NHS, GPs’ surgeries and the education and prison systems.”
Jeffrey Titford, UKIP’s MEP in the Eastern Counties, which includes Hertfordshire, said: “I am delighted that Ms Mason has had the courage of her convictions and joined our party, where I am sure she is going to be a tremendous asset. I hope that others will follow her example so that the trickle coming to the only party offering realistic solutions to many of the nation’s problems will become a torrent.”
By profession, Ms Mason is a nurse who has worked for many years in both the NHS and the private sector. She is currently matron and partner of a nursing home.