Sunday, 29 November 2009

Weekly News- Rebuilding trust in politics

The following letter was printed in this week's Widnes and Runcorn Weekly News:

Politics and politicians have taken a major knock in the last year. All of us involved in politics have to rebuild trust with the electorate before the general and local elections, due at the latest by the beginning of June 2010.

In Halton, the Conservatives are committed to doing our bit to restore faith in politics and prove that we can deliver real change for local people.

Between now and the elections, we will make specific promises to the people of Halton of practical things we will deliver if elected in 2010. These pledges will offer the people of Halton a clear choice when they come to vote; knowing exactly what the Conservatives will do if put in charge of the Town Hall.

As we finalise our pledges for the elections, we are committed to listening to local people. We have already received lots of encouragement from local residents who have shared their ideas with us. To tell us what you think our priorities should be, please email via Ben Jones’ blog ( or write to us at Halton Conservatives, 63 Victoria Road, Widnes, Cheshire, WA8 7RP. We would like to hear from as many people as possible across Halton.

Together, we can give Halton and the country the change it desperately needs.

Yours sincerely,
Ben Jones (Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Halton) and Councillor Peter Murray (Leader, Conservative Group, Halton Borough Council)

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Liverpool Hope Radio; The Lisbon Treaty

Yesterday, I did a live interview on Liverpool Hope Radio to talk about The Lisbon Treaty. The programme had interviewed local Labour MP Jane Kennedy and UKIP MEP Paul Nutall, and asked me to provide a Conservative Party perspective.

I reminded listeners of the betrayal Gordon Brown and the Labour Party had committed in refusing the give the British people the referendum it had promised in it's 2005 manifesto. I also reiterated the Conservative Party's commitment to our continued membership of, and support for, the European Union, but emphasised that we want to an open, flexible Europe, which serves the people not the other way round. I also reminded listeners of David Cameron's commitment to change the law so that never again would a government be able to agree to a Treaty that hands over areas of power from Britain to the EU without a referendum.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Weekly News- BNP blasted by Ben Jones

British National Party deputy leader Simon Darby defends use of Sir Winston Churchill in campaign material amid criticism from Ben Jones, prospective Conservative candidate for Halton

THE BNP’s use of Winston Churchill’s image on its campaign material has been blasted by prospective Conservative MP for Halton, Ben Jones.

But senior figures at the BNP have hit back, claiming former Tory Prime Minister would have agreed with many of its views.

Images of the Second World War leader – a Tory for most of his career – have appeared alongside BNP leader Nick Griffin on his party’s website.

Mr Jones – who will stand against Derek Twigg MP at the next election – said: “Winston Churchill is rightly regarded as one of the great Britons of all time, who was a national hero during the Second World War.

“It is unfortunate that an organisation like the BNP, which is neither great nor heroic, should seek to use his image on their website and in their campaign materials.

“The best way to defeat the BNP is to ensure that all mainstream political parties tackle head-on their lies and bigotry and get their own supporters to the polls on election day.”

Simon Darby, deputy leader of the BNP, said Churchill would have shared many of his party’s views.

He said: “We believe if Churchill had the same political outlook now as he had then, he’d be thrown out of the Conservative party.

“Under mainstream parties we’ve seen the sell-off of British gold, and seen the loss of more freedoms to the EU.

“Thatcher took us into Europe and ensured we were wrapped in the tentacles of the EU federalist monster.”

He added: “If he were here now, we’d be the only party he could join.”

Friday, 20 November 2009

Dithering on MP's expenses

One of the biggest issues facing the country this year has been MP's expenses. We could have reasonably expected action on it to form part of the legislative programme announced this week by the government. No such luck. Despite all the talk of cleaning up politics and restoring faith in politicians, the government has failed to act when it had the perfect opportunity. The story doesn't end there.

Just hours after the Queen’s Speech, the Prime Minister was already doing one of his famous retreats. He refused David Cameron’s offer of help to pass new laws the public demand on expenses reform; instead he sat talking to Harriet Harman. Then, following criticism from Sir Christopher Kelly, he changed his mind and admitted new laws are needed. It's another total shambles from this failing government and failing prime Minister.

It also confirms what I have written here for some months; they still do not get it!

Queen's Speech

This week, we once again saw the Prime Minister put party before country. The Queen's Speech had one objective; save the Labour Party from electoral defeat. Gordon Brown had nothing to offer the country except a series of half-measures aimed at partisan point-scoring, which even Cabinet Ministers admitted was about playing politics not improving people’s lives.

What a shameful act by this failing government, which is out of steam, out of ideas, and hopefully soon, will be out of office. We don't need more of this desperate clinging to power; we need a general election.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Traffic chaos; we need the second bridge

The recent Silver Jubilee Bridge chaos experienced by local residents and businesses confirms my long-held view that we need the second bridge, and quick. I join Derek Twigg MP in his calls for the matter to be put beyond doubt by the Transport Secretary acting quickly to confirm approval for the project. The report of the Public Inquiry is due next month; I hope the people of Halton will not be left waiting on this vital issue.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

A great year

A year ago today, I was selected as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Halton.

It has been a huge honour and a real privilege to fulfil this role over the last twelve months. I am grateful for all the help and support I have received from local people and look forward to continuing to work with them to fight for the things that we care about; safer communities, better public services, more openness and honesty in politics, a fair deal on tolls for the new bridge, protection of Halton's greenbelt, and more besides, between now, the general election, and hopefully beyond.

I will continue to campaign with my Conservative colleagues in Halton, for the change that our borough and the country desperately needs.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Weekly News- Candidate’s promise to “do his bit”

THE Tory prospective parliamentary candidate for Halton has pledged his support for the armed forces.

Conservative Ben Jones - who will go head to head with MP Derek Twigg at the next election - made the pledge when he met Royal British Legion representatives at the recent Conservative party conference in Manchester.

He was handed the RBL’s manifesto for the coming election, which sets out priorities for the next Government to improve conditions for the British armed forces past and present, as well astheir families.

Kevin Shinkwin, the Legion’s head of public affairs, said: “We’re really grateful to Ben for making the time to meet with us and listen to our concerns.

“Our message to every candidate standing at the general election is very simple: ‘It’s time to do your bit’.”

Mr Jones, said, “They are an outstanding organisation, making a huge contribution to our country.

“They have an important role to play in highlighting the needs of the whole Armed Forces family.

“I have pledged to do my bit and would encourage everyone to do the same by visiting”

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

It was a great honour to take part in the Remembrance Sunday ceremony in Widnes today. Alongside Councillor Peter Murray, I represented Halton Conservatives, joining the march through Victoria Park and laying the Party’s wreath at the cenotaph.

It was extremely humbling to stand alongside hundreds of local people, including veterans and their families, whose bravery and sacrifice we remember today. I was also struck by the number of young people who attended the ceremony to show their support and respect. At this difficult time for our whole armed forces family with the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, we remember not just the fallen from the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts, but the daily sacrifices being made by our troops and their families in our name. I was very proud to be with some of them today.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Merseyside Conservative Ladies' Lunch Club

Yesterday I spoke at the Merseyside Conservative Ladies' Lunch Club at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. I was very grateful for the invitation and enjoyed catching up with many long-standing friends and meeting new ones. In my speech I focused on the campaign in Halton (updating the ladies on what we have been doing over the last tweleve months since my selection), the national political picture, and what factors I believe will decide the next election.

I also talked about my background and political history, explaining my reasons for joining the Conservative Party saying; "It was conviction that brought me into the party; a conviction that this is a great country, with proud values and a capacity for its people to achieve anything if they are given the freedom and the opportunity to do it.

I have always believed that we should only have as much good government as we can afford; that society does exist, but as David Cameron says, it is not the same thing as the state; and that a Conservative government should reward those who take responsibility for themselves, and care for those who cannot."

Weekly News- letter published

The following letter was published this week in the Widnes and Runcorn Weekly News:

"I have followed with interest the recent letters from Frank Harasiwka and subsequent related correspondence.

Underneath the usual Lib Dem tactics of trying to be all things to all men and misleading the electorate on the positions of their opponents, there lurks a more corrosive message. Mr Harasiwka’s references to the “Burlington Club” and George Osborne not having had a “proper job” are an attempt to smear my Conservative colleagues, and to turn the next election into a class war. Labour got its fingers burnt just down the M6 last year when it tried to run a by-election campaign in Crewe against “Tory toffs”; you would think politicians would have more faith in the British people than to think they would fall for this nonsense.

In Britain we care about where people are going, not where they are from. This great country of ours is a place where someone from any background can rise to the height of their chosen field. Forget political differences; the fact that John Prescot could make the journey from ship steward to Deputy Prime Minister is a tribute to our country and the fairness of our values. In the same way, David Cameron and George Osborne shouldn’t have their school or their background held against them.

For my part, I went to my local state schools in Rainhill and St Helens. I was the first person in my family to go to University, and I live in London now because that’s where my wife and I work. I hope when Halton’s voters come to cast their vote at the general election, they will vote for candidates because of their values, their commitment to local people, and their plans for tackling the issues that matter.

Over the next few months, I hope that we will hear more from candidates about their ideas and values, not their prejudices."

Yours sincerely,
Ben Jones
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Halton

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Weekly News- MP Chris Grayling tours Farnworth, Widnes

ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour was the main topic of discussion when shadow home secretary Chris Grayling MP visited Widnes this week.

Mr Grayling, who is also the Conservative shadow minister for Merseyside, was taken to St Luke’s Church, Farnworth, which has seen a number of incidents of graffiti and vandalism.

Ben Jones, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Halton, said: “Chris is spending a lot of time listening to people up and down the country in his role as shadow home secretary, seeing for himself the effect crime and anti-social behaviour has on communities.”

Mr Grayling met Farnworth residents, police officers and representatives from the church and Halton Borough Council’s anti-social behaviour co-ordinator to discuss vandalism and under-age drinking in the area.

Mr Jones added: “It was a great pleasure to have him visit Halton and to spend time talking about this key local issue.

“I look forward to his continued support for the area if he becomes home secretary after the next general election.”