Saturday, 30 January 2010

Letters in the Weekly News

I have sent the following letter to the Widnes and Runcorn Weekly News:

Two letters in last week’s Weekly News particularly caught my eye. The first, from D Alder, asked the views of Halton’s Parliamentary Candidates in relation to Trident and Britain nuclear deterrent. The second, from Harold Mercer, misrepresented the Conservative Party’s position on overseas aid. I thought it would be helpful to reply to both.

On Trident; I support the replacement of the Trident nuclear system. I also support the Proliferation Treaty and would welcome a reduction in our weapons arsenal, but I believe that Britain needs it own, independent, modern, nuclear deterrent. I hope we never have to use it, but I believe we should always have it to safeguard the security of our people.

On overseas aid, the position is very different from that set out by Mr Mercer. We have promised to protect two budgets if we come into office; health and overseas aid. We are committed to achieving the UN target of spending 0.7% of national income on aid by 2013. Our top priority will be to ensure that every single pound of taxpayers' money delivers the maximum impact. We will move towards results-based aid, where money is handed to governments only when development results have been achieved. We will focus our aid on the countries where it will make the biggest difference, and spend £500 million a year to save lives by tackling malaria; a cause championed by local Conservative MP Stephen O’Brien. We believe in honouring our obligations to the poorest around the world.

As the people of Halton decide who to support at the next election, I believe they deserve the very best information about those of us who seek their vote. I am hoping to have a number of opportunities to debate with my fellow candidates during the campaign to discuss these issues and many others, meet with as many voters as possible on the doorstep (as I have been doing since November 2008) and answer your questions (which you could email me via my blog;

This election offers us the perfect opportunity to give Halton and the country the change it desperately needs. I hope that together we can take it.

Yours sincerely,
Ben Jones
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Halton

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Ditton sidings

I have sent the following letter to the Weekly News:

I read with great interest the recent story broken by The Weekly News on the Council’s u-turn in relation to a waste plan in Halebank.

Ditton residents know that thanks to Councillor Rowan the Council’s plans for a new waste dump in Ditton sidings- something they previously opposed- were exposed.

What the Council and its Labour majority do next is a real test of where their priorities lie. Will they make deals behind closed doors without any discussion with local residents, or will they be open, listen to local people, and stick to their promises?

The people of Ditton know that Councillor Rowan is standing up for them. I wonder if they can say the same about other local politicians.

Yours sincerely,
Ben Jones
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Halton

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Halton Conservatives make our "Pledges for Change"

I have sent the following letter to the Widnes and Runcorn Weekly News;

Halton Conservatives are committed to restoring faith in politics by proving that we can deliver real change for local people. In 2010, there will be important local elections and a general election. We believe these elections offer an opportunity to provide real change to our borough and to our country.

We are therefore making five specific promises to the people of Halton of practical things we will deliver if elected in 2010. These pledges offer the people of Halton a clear choice when they come to vote in this year’s elections; knowing exactly what the Conservatives will do if put in charge of the Town Hall and what we will campaign for if local people send a Conservative MP to Westminster.

Halton Conservatives are committed to cutting the cost of politics in Halton
We will conduct a full review of the cost of the democratic process (including budgets for expenses and entertaining), and streamline the structure of the Council to save you money

Halton Conservatives are committed to reducing anti-social behaviour in the borough
We will work closely with Cheshire Police to tackle youth nuisance and alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour, redirecting wasted council funding into youth clubs and community projects

Halton Conservatives are committed to cleaning up our borough
We will redirect current council spending to focus on cleaner roads, pavements, parks and community areas

Halton Conservatives are committed to a fair deal on the Mersey Gateway
We fully support the project but will fight for the lowest possible tolls for local residents and businesses

Halton Conservatives are committed to our green spaces
We will not support any building on existing green spaces in the borough

We want to be straight with people about what we stand for, and what voting Conservative will mean for Halton. We want to offer Halton a real choice in the coming elections. Together, we want to give Halton and the country the change it desperately needs.

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

Saturday, 16 January 2010


This week has been overshadowed by the tragic events in Haiti. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti and all those who have suffered so much there over the last few days. I have included in this posting a copy of the Disasters Emergency Committee leaflet which gives details of how we can all help. Further details are also listed below.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), made up of 13 of Britain’s leading NGOs, has launched an appeal with the support of major UK broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Al-Jazeera.

The money raised will support the efforts of the DEC’s members to carry out their vital emergency aid work in Haiti. To donate, call 0370 60 60 900 or visit the DEC website;

The 13 member agencies of DEC are Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Weekly News- Ben Jones hits back against GMB class war

Conservative Party parliamentary candidate for Halton Ben Jones says GMB union following lead of Gordon Brown after it raised questions about his class

A MAN who aims to be Halton’s next MP has blasted a union for claiming he is too middle class to represent the borough.

Conservative Ben Jones – who will go head-to-head with Labour incumbent Derek Twigg at the next election – was one of 10 Cheshire Tories to come under attack by the GMB union for his work background.

The union claims Mr Jones’s job as a management consultant meant he was ‘not representative’ of the people he wishes to represent.

But Mr Jones hit back, saying ‘Labour’s union paymasters’ were trying to ignite an irrelevant class debate.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said, “Tory candidates remain wholly unrepresentative of the majority of the workforce of the North West.

“These are not people who operate in the real world.

“It is alarming that they still come from such a thin and well-heeled layer of our society.”

Mr Jones, said: “I am disappointed the GMB Union has joined Gordon Brown in trying to fight the next election on class lines.

“I believe most people in Britain care about whether the people who want our vote have the right ideas and values to represent us, not which school they went to or what jobs they’ve held.

“I spent seven-and-a-half years working as a management consultant helping Government and public sector bodies get better value for money for the taxpayer.

“I’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years working in the public sector for a health regulator in the interests of public health and protection.

“This shouldn’t matter. What should matter is whether I can do the job of an MP.”

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A week of contrasts

This week we saw a huge contrast. A united and positive Conservative Party talking about issues, launching parts of our draft manifesto, and focusing on the NHS; and a Labour Party which is divided, talking about leadership elections, and whether the Prime Minister can fight off another attempted coup.

We cannot go on like this. We don't need a Labour leadership election. We need a General Election to give Britain the change it needs.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Fox hunting

I have received a number of emails asking for my view on fox-hunting, specifically whether I would support the repeal of the Hunting Act, or whether I support its continuation. I have included a copy of my reply below;

Many thanks for your email.

To answer your question directly; I would vote to repeal the Hunting Act.

As you may know, the Conservatives have promised a free vote on this issue in the next Parliament, allowing MPs from all sides of the House to vote with their conscience.

I personally would not want to see too much Parliamentary time spent on this issue (as was spent when it was originally passed), as I think the country has a great number of other more pressing priorities.

I would like to state that I have never been hunting, or have any desire to go hunting, but I believe that the Hunting Act has proved unworkable and that it should be repealed, to be replaced by a system which ensures the welfare of wild animals.

I would be more than happy to discuss further.

Best regards,

Friday, 1 January 2010