UKIP have been floundering in the Stoke Central by-election after revelations that UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, the party’s candidate, is under police investigation for making a false declaration on his nomination papers for the election, as well as an international fraud investigation and has been called out on many of his other claims and his views on the NHS.
Not to mention frankly racist attempts to appeal to presumed racism in Stoke’s people to turn them against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.
All this has tended to push the other by-election in a Labour seat – Copeland in Cumbria – out of the limelight, but there are also newsworthy developments there concerning the UKIP candidate, Fiona Mills.
In an attempt to neutralise Labour’s strength on the NHS and to distance herself from Nuttall’s anti-NHS views and from the Tories’ intended closure of important NHS facilities in the area, including its maternity unit, paediatrics and A&E, Ms Mills has made much of the fact that she works as an accountant in the local NHS Trust, North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust:
In contrast to her party’s leader, Ms Mills’ employment claim is true – she does work as an accountant at the Trust. However, it appears that her attempts to validate her candidacy by associating herself with the NHS are seriously exaggerated.
Earlier this week, a concerned constituent emailed the Trust’s complaints department to express concern at its association with the UKIP candidate:
The Trust was clearly keen to put right any idea that it supports Ms Mills or her politics and responded promptly – and emphatically:
Allowing for the diplomatic language that organisations need to use in such circumstances, this is about as close as you’ll ever see to,
Nothing to do with us, guv – don’t blame us!
and remember, this is their response to concerns about her party’s position on the NHS, not just its promotion of racism and xenophobia. Fiona Mills has been disowned by her own employers, basically – along with her party.
Edit: the UKIP mouthpiece ‘Westmonster’ is trying to rubbish the letter by saying it’s just a proforma text that would be sent to anyone about any candidate. Of course, this is nonsense. There are far more diplomatic ways that the hospital would say a Labour, LibDem or even a Tory candidate’s views were their own and not those of their employer, such as ‘The Trust does not endorse the views of any political party’, which is far more neutral.
Making it specifically about Ms Mills’ views – that ‘we would like to reassure you’ wouldn’t appear, for example – make this letter the lawyer-checked equivalent of someone in a fart-filled lift denying any blame for the smell.
Local voters in the Copeland constituency should therefore take any NHS-based campaigning by Ms Mills with a Gibraltar-sized pinch of salt. It’s apparent that her NHS employers desperately do not wish to be associated in any way with her political persona or views.
Small wonder, since UKIP are far more aligned with Tory views and intentions regarding the NHS than they want you to believe – not to mention, as Joanna put it, promoting racism and xenophobia.
Spread the word so the people of Copeland can disown her and her party at the ballot box as well.
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