Category Archives: News

Ashworth becomes Change UK candidate for South East Euro elections

CHANGE UK is the new political party launched by eleven former Conservative and Labour MPs including Chuka Umunna, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Mike Gapes.

They have all been horrified about the damage and chaos of the last three years of Brexit negotiations. They have been patient, given three years to see if Brexit could be resolved, and then finally had enough. Politics is broken they said. We need change.

Fiercely patriotic, Change UK wants to rebuild Great Britain. Their first priority is to win seats at the European Parliament. They want to send a clear message that Britain wants to Remain in the EU.

Change UK believes Great Britain is strongest as a leader of the free world. Sitting at the top table of the European Union as well as enjoying strong vibrant relationships with our international allies in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and also our allies in the Commonwealth, China, Japan and beyond.

Change UK is contesting the EU Elections on May 23rd and have put forward 70 candidates, including 10 in the South East Region. Their priority is to get people to vote and vote to Remain in the EU.

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Richard Ashworth was LEADER of the CONSERVATIVE PARTY in the EU. Having watched both major parties abandon pragmatic centre ground politics in favour of ideological intolerance, he left the Conservative party in 2017. He is delighted to join the Independent Group, and is dedicated to supporting Change UK and a People’s Vote.

Richard trained in agriculture and land management and spent over thirty years in the food and farming industry. During that period he became convinced that education was the key to unlocking the potential of this country. That bought him into the world of politics. First elected to the European Parliament in 2004, he has been a member of the budget committee for fifteen years and was rapporteur for the 2018 European budget.

Richard has spent 15 years working on EU relations and is certain that every alternative arrangement that has been proposed would leave us, and our country, significantly worse off than we are now.

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NOTE TO EDITORS
For more information please contact James Burstall, press contact for South East region 07930 350 290.
Change UK launched its campaign for the European Parliamentary elections last week, with 70 candidates. Candidates included journalist Rachel Johnson – sister of Tory MP and leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson and former BBC correspondent Gavin Esler.

For more information about Change UK see https://theindependent.group/
The complete list of Change UK candidates for the South East are – Richard Ashworth, Victoria Groulef, Warren Morgan, Eleanor Fuller, Robin Bextor, Nicholas Mazzei, Suzana Carp, Phil Murphy, Heather Allen, Diane Yeo

Ashworth the “people are entitled to have a second option”

Richard Ashworth MEP for South East England speaking to BBC Radio Kent underlined his support for a second vote to determine the UKs future relationship with the EU, in a new referendum which will allow the people to vote for Theresa May’s “Chequers Plan” or remaining in the EU.

“People now understand that we have to answer a clear question; the Customs Union are you in it or are you out of it, which has no tariffs, no customs, and life goes on as before. If you’re outside you become a “third country” I don’t care if you call it Norway or Canada there will be a hard border in Ireland and Dover. UK companies will be disadvantaged. The “pot of gold” that was promised to the British electorate of bilateral trade agreements post-Brexit just isn’t there.”

“The only possible approach now is to put the question back to the people asking them in clear terms “this is what you voted” are you sure you want this?”

NISSAN COULD BE THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG WARNS ASHWORTH

“The decision by Sony, Hitachi and now Nissan UK to relocate from the UK, or halt future investments should act as an alarm bell to the Prime Minister that this could be the tip of the iceberg with other corporate boardrooms across the UK actively looking to protect their businesses post-Brexit with all options on the
table”, Richard Ashworth MEP for South-East England has warned.

“The Prime Minster and the Leave campaign did not obtain a mandate from the British people to proceed down the road of self-harm and make the UK materially poorer”.

The former leader of the UK Conservative delegation in the European Parliament, who is now an independent MEP sitting in the EPP block in the European Parliament fears that the UK going back to the “1970s when industrial strife, isolation and division were common place in Britain.”

“We have managed to undermine the very foundations of political stability, unfettered access to Single Market, that resulted in record levels of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) pre the Brexit referendum, with figures now showing a fall by 19 percent since the Brexit vote in 2016, seeing Germany overtake the UK as the number destination in Europe of foreign investments.”

The Prime Minister and Parliament have failed to avert Brexit “No Deal” disaster


The Prime Minister is “delusional” to believe that there is any realistic chance to revise or to “reopen” the Withdrawal Agreement over the Northern Ireland backstop, despite repeated warnings by the EU that there was no chance of this taking place.

Richard Ashworth MEP for South East England reacting to the so called Graham Brady vote in Parliament on Tuesday 29 January said:
“All this does is more “kicking the can down the road”. Legislating against ‘no deal’ is like making rules that there will be no gravity if you fall out of a tree.”

“The Prime Minister going back to Brussels to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement is pure time wasting. The issue is the same today, as it was two years ago; either you are in the customs union (in which case there are no borders), or you are out of it (and you have borders, friction and all the associated costs and delays).”
“Leavers are still deluding themselves that you can have benefits of customs union, but not have to abide by the rules and can still make our own independent trade deals around the world. If EU won’t agree to that (why would it?), then, by definition, you have a ‘no deal’ Brexit on March 29th anyway”.

The Prime Minister must climb down over her “red lines”


Following the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons on Monday 21 January, to outline the position of HM Government on avoiding a “no deal” outcome, Richard Ashworth MEP for South East England the former leader of the UK Conservative Party in the European Parliament, has called on the Prime Minister to start compromising over her “red lines” and rule out a “no deal” Brexit immediately.

“It is HM Government intransigence over the so called “red lines” which has caused this ongoing impasse and has caused so much uncertainty and concern to all”.

“Members of Parliament who voted the Prime Minister’s proposal down are clear what they did not want; it is now time for the PM to work with the House to determine what they do want. The inflexibility she has taken (over the Withdrawal Bill) highlights the need for her to go back to the House to ask exactly what they do want.”

Be careful the conclusions you draw

Richard Ashworth MEP speaking with BBC Radio Kent said that the Prime Minister Theresa May was “damaged” and that the vote in Parliament on Theresa Mays “Chequers Plan” was a “defeat by all opinions”.

“There are three options now” according to Ashworth, firstly a General election; “both leaders share the same policy, so there is no point in having an election” Richard Ashworth said to Ian Collins on BBC Radio Kent.

A second referendum Peoples Vote, the problem here is that MPs are decision makers, not delegates, they are best placed to judge what is in best interests of the nation’s prosperity and influence around the world.

The third and final option is for the PM to play for time until the only choice remaining is between the agreement or a hard Brexit.

Richard Ashworth MEP has added his name to calls supporting a second referendum, or a Peoples Vote.

This is the only deal

Richard Ashworth MEP for South-East England and member of the EPP group in the European Parliament has warned Members of Parliament wanting to vote against Theresa Mays “Brexit Plan” on Tuesday 11 December the so called “Chequers Deal”, that was the “only deal, without question or renegotiation”.

“No deal means no transition, which will have a major impact on the South-East of England, hitting immediately freight from the ports of Dover into the EU, aviation out of Gatwick for UK registered airlines, and the cornerstone of being a member of the EU Freedom of Movement will be restricted.”

Richard Ashworth MEP continued to stress that “with the Bank of England underlining repeatedly that in the best case scenario of leaving the EU is that we will be measurably worse off, the worse case scenario we would be significantly worse off after leaving the EU.”

Referring to the referendum that took place on 23 June 2016 Richard Ashworth MEP said “people should ask themselves if this is what they really wanted.”

Richard Ashworth MEP campaigned for the UK to remain in the UK during the UK referendum and has called on a second referendum to determine without equivocation the future of the UK relationship with the EU.

Ashworth reacts to expulsion from Conservative Party

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Richard Ashworth, the former leader of the UK Conservative delegation in the European Parliament, was expelled from the Conservative party this week in a shock move by the party Chairman, Brandon Lewis.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Ashworth said: “In October 2017, I, along with Julie Girling, voted in support of a European Parliament resolution that said, “Not enough progress has been made, by the EU and the UK, in resolving the question of the Irish border after Brexit”. Only five Conservative MEPs took part in the vote, which was not a political statement but a factual one.”

In light of that vote, Prime Minister Theresa May announced at the following PMQs “I have suspended the party whip from two Conservative MEPs”.

Subsequently, Both MEPs in defiance of the British Conservative delegation, voted to censure the far right Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. Consequently, Party Chairman, Brandon Lewis, announced this week that Ashworth and Girling had been expelled from the Conservative party.

Ashworth added: “Having been a party worker for over 30 years and, having been former group leader and party board member, I find this extremely disappointing. I always have been, and always will be, a Conservative. However, I am surprised that the party does not apply the same standards in Westminster and I am extremely concerned that this once broad-church pragmatic Conservative party has deserted the centre ground in favour of far right ideology and intolerance”.

Statement by Richard Ashworth MEP

It has come to my attention that I voted against an amendment to encourage national parliaments to ban “gay conversion therapies” on 1st March.

As an MEP I vote on hundreds of amendments during a Strasbourg plenary session and occasionally I vote the wrong way. Normally this voting error would have been flagged up and corrected but it was missed.

Regardless, this was a mistake which I deeply regret so I want to clarify I am opposed to so called “gay conversion therapies.” I also want to apologise for any offence caused.

There were 48 other amendments to the report and, amongst other things, I voted in favour of:

· the rights of same-sex couples to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States

· welcoming the fact that more Member States have adapted their laws on same-sex marriage

· calling on other Member States to adapt their laws

· calling on the Commission to bring forward a proposal for the full recognition gender recognition and marriages across the EU and

· on the final resolution (which was adopted)

EPP leader welcomes Ashworth and Girling to group

The chairman of the European Peoples Party Manfred Webber welcomed British MEPs Richard Ashworth and Julie Girling into its ranks at a meeting held in Brussels on Tuesday 27 February 2018.

Manfred Webber Chairman of the EPP said:

“We are very happy to welcome two new members of the EPP Group today! Good to have British colleagues back to our group”.

Richard Ashworth MEP for South East England said:
“I am delighted to be back in the largest political grouping in the European Parliament which will allow me to better represent the interests of constituents during these very uncertain times for the United Kingdom.”