Take up EU challenge

I WRITE to challenge the North West’s UKIP MEP, Paul Nuttall, to a public debate on Britain’s future membership of the European Union.

With an IN-OUT referendum to take place within the next few years my views as the region’s Liberal Democrat representative are very clear. EU membership is vital to maintain British jobs and political influence over decisions that affect our economy and place in the world. It is essential if we are to fight cross border crime. It is of huge benefit to our efforts to improve the environment. I rarely see Paul Nuttall because he almost never turns up to the legislative committees to which he belongs, but my general experience in the European Parliament is that the recently suspended Godfrey Bloom is typical of UKIP representatives.

Paul Nuttall’s public comments over the years confirm this. I remember the nonsense he spouted about European Commission plans to prosecute people for selling homemade jam in used jars. More recently he has declared that the Royal Mail is being privatised not to promote investment in a fast-changing industry but because of EU Directives. Both statements were untrue.

There is plenty that needs changing to improve the working of the EU, and I have been successful in bringing about much-needed reforms. A campaign I led persuaded government ministers to meet in public when debating new EU laws even before this became a legal requirement. But the distortions and denigration that pour from the mouths of UKIP representatives damage Britain’s reputation while contributing nothing positive.

UKIP gets away with peddling downright lies because too few people know how they can be challenged. After three terms as an MEP I am one of the few people who knows the warts-and-all reality of the EU. I shall be happy to take on Paul Nuttall in a public meeting locally or in the pages of this newspaper. British jobs and influence in the world must not be lost for want of a fight.

Chris Davies

Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West

Don’t cover your face

The recent controversy raised by a Moslem woman being refused permission to give evidence in a Court Case whilst insisting on wearing her Niqab veil has now spread to those of her persuasion, wishing to practise Medical Care.

It is interesting that we consider ourselves here in the UK to be extremely civilised in permitting anyone to express their religious practices, that we now appear to do so to the detriment of our own centuries old held Christian beliefs. Much indignation is expressed by our own citizens that all Moslems should be allowed to wear their religious symbols, But I do not recollect a similar public outcry when an Airline recently tried to prevent one of their Hostesses from wearing a Cross whilst in Uniform,.This being symbolic of her sincerely held Christian Beliefs, and desire to express her outward commitment, which if I recollect correctly, was only eventually allowed by an Appeal to a Court of Law.

Whilst wishing to not be offensive to anyone practising their Moslem Religion here, it should surely be made clear that when they live here, they are in a Christian Country and should be prepared to accept that their insisting of wearing of Niqabs will debar their women from being able to take part in certain professions. Most Moslem women seem satisfied to wear head coverings which are perfectly acceptable and not obscuring their faces, which is what most Western Nations find objectionable.

John Tilley, Chorley