News 
No Deal is the ONLY deal. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Saturday, 11th November, 2017 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has concluded that “No Deal” is the one available from the EU negotiators. 
 
Michel Barnier and his team want to make the UK remaining in the Customs Union and Single Market a pre-requisite to a frictionless border between Northern and Southern Ireland. 
 
With the insistence on residency rights for parents and children of those EU citizens already here and a raft of other measures designed to prevent progress in the talks, the choice is becoming clear. 
 
Remaining in the Single Market would prevent the UK from setting up its own trade deals with the rest of the world. It is membership of the EU in all but name. 
 
Mr Etheridge said“We have to be clear – The European Union is not offering the UK a deal here – they are offering a trap to keep us in. 
 
“We have seen the way they have treated the Catalans. Their leaders are imprisoned, a general strike has closed schools, 12,000 lorries have effectively shut the border to France, yet main stream media is almost silent. 
 
“Is this the kind of authoritarian institution we want to be part of? In some ways the sheer intransi-gence of the EU negotiators is making the UK's decision easier. 
 
“It looks like “No Deal” is the only one palatable to the British public.” 
 
 
 
END 
Bill The Beast 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, November 13th, 2017 
 
 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP, Bill Etheridge turned into “The Beast” on Saturday night as he made his debut in an exhibition match and Bilston’s Imperial Suite. 
 
More known for his knockout blows in the European Parliament, he traded punches instead with Dudley’s Ross Brumell. 
 
It was the culmination of a fitness drive, which has seen the MEP switch to a high protein diet and endure gruelling gym sessions, in a major image transformation. 
 
The charity New Roots, which takes direct action to fight homelessness, stood to gain most from the gala night. 
 
A healthy crowd saw the battling politician set the tone straight away with several powerful jabs at his opponent and both fighters received a medal at the end. 
Mr Etheridge, councillor for Sedgley, said "It was an exhibition fight so there was no winner, but I was up against a great lad and enjoyed it." 
He continued: "I have only done a few months training but so far I think we have raised more than £1,000 for the charity. 
"The match was suggested to me when I went on a diet and started training at a boxing gym. They said there was a show on so why don't you come down and have a go. 
"It sounded crazy but I thought let's go for it. 
 
 
 
END 
UKIP MEP backs calls for cut in Beer Tax. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Friday, November 3rd, 2017 
 
 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP, Bill Etheridge, has hailed the new Tax Payers Alliance paper on Beer Tax as 
 
Figures show clearly the decreases in Beer Duty having a major impact on the total number of bars in the UK. That number has started increasing again, though the number of traditional pubs seems in terminal decline. 
 
Beer Duty in the UK is 14 times higher than in Germany and as beer represents 70% of the sales in pubs, it has a massive effect on pub profitability. 
 
Local pub campaigner, Martin Day, said “Traditional pubs are hampered by the fact that small drops in duty are taken as extra profit by the pub companies, with the price cuts failing to filter their way down to the customer. 
 
“The increase in the total number of bars since the Beer Tax accelerator was axed tells us that the sec-tor as a whole benefits greatly from these cuts.” 
 
Mr Etheridge, chair of the libertarian Indigo Group, said “I have long maintained that taxes on alco-hol, tobacco and fuel are taxes on the poor. 
 
A sharp reduction in Beer Duty will not only be felt in the pockets of the poor, but will also offer fresh impetus for an economic sector that provides many people with employment. 
 
“The licensed trade plays a vital role in starting our young people on a career path, with over a quarter of a million under 25s employed in the sector. 
 
“The evidence is strong that cutting or scrapping Beer Duty would create thousands of jobs, giving a boost to the Treasury in tax receipts, whilst also reducing unemployment still further.” 
 
 
 
END 
“Cronies” in Labour enrage UKIP 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 
West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge was fuming last night as the full meeting of Dudley Council descended into chaos. 
Speaking immediately after his group had been deprived of the time to introduce a motion on the cutting back of trees, Mr Etheridge, also councillor for Sedgley, said “Once again, we have seen an appalling, disgusting display of cronyism and the worst excesses of the Labour Party. 
“We had two motions put forward, one from UKIP about getting trees cut back in an area where there's a lot of complaints from people. 
“Instead, the virtous, socialist, bleeding heart, do-gooder, communist ratbags talked it out to get something passed on gender equality. 
Cllr Paul Brothwood, the UKIP group leader, tried repeatedly to make a point of order as he recognised the text from an article he'd read in the Guardian. 
He was asked three times to sit down by the Labour Mayor, Cllr Dave Tyler, but would not and was ordered from the Chamber. The Wordsley councillor refused, causing the meeting to be adjourned for twenty minutes. 
Cllr Brothwood said “In essence the Labour group put forward a motion and I recognised the wording of it from an article from The Guardian. I felt there could be copyright issues in place. 
"I tried to make the point and the Mayor asked me to leave. I feel that they were trying to silence democracy." 
Sarah Norman, Dudley's £165k a year Chief Executive, whose job it is to advise on points of order, stayed silent. 
 
Cllr Etheridge added “To quote from George Bernard Shaw, 'Power does not corrupt men: Fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power'.” 
UKIP MEP: Kiss the defence of overseas territories Goodbye. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Friday, October 6th, 2017 
UKIP Defence Spokesman Bill Etheridge MEP is horrified at the latest defence cut plans, which could leave the UK without any amphibious assault ships. 
The speculated cuts would see HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion scrapped, leaving the UK no way of attacking a defended beach. 
Beach landings were used in the Second World War and, more recently, in retaking the Falkland Islands. 
BBC newsnight suggested this was a genuine possibility, along with the loss of 1,000 Marines, allowing crew to be redeployed to the two new aircraft carriers. 
An MoD spokesman refused an outright denial, saying “In the face of ever-changing threats, we are contributing to the cross-government review of national security capabilities and looking at how we best spend our rising defence budget to support that. 
“No decisions have yet been made and at this stage, any discussion of the options is pure speculation.” 
Mr Etheridge said “If this were to happen we would be unable to retake the Falklands or any other overseas territory in the event of a hostile occupation. 
“Tensions remain over the Falklands and Gibraltar and to disarm our amphibious capability in this way would give any enemies the knowledge that a swift occupation could not be reversed. 
“The UK might just as well kiss the defence of overseas territories goodbye. 
“Ronald Reagan once told how a government's first duty was to defend its people. This government are failing them in a way that is shameful.” 
 
 
ENDS 
A CANZUK way forward? 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, September 4th, 2017 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has praised Australian Senator James Paterson, who last week called for a four-way trade agreement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Unit-ed Kingdom. Mr Etheridge said “Senator Paterson has hit the nail on the head, all we need now is the British Government to catch on to the blindingly obvious.” 
 
These countries – known collectively as CANZUK – have a combined GDP of $US6.5 trillion. Put together, they are the fourth largest economy in the world: behind the US, EU and China. 
 
With Australia, New Zealand, and Canada all lining up to sign post-Brexit trade agreements with the UK, there is an opportunity for these nations to push for a wide-ranging agreement between all four. 
 
His call echoes that of New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay in his desire for closer ties between the Commonwealth nations. 
 
Moreover, all four countries are parliamentary democracies following the Westminster tradition; all have common legal systems; all are members of the Commonwealth; and all have Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. 
 
Mr Etheridge said, “These countries, are predominantly English speaking and hold similar values and I’m sure the Queen would be delighted. 
 
“In contrast to the EU, which is headed down a federal path, the creation of a CANZUK agreement could be comparatively straight-forward. 
 
“Similar legal systems exist, but also the framework for a CANZUK agreement already exists with the formation of the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). 
 
“The Department for International Trade need to stop the current negativity that is being mooted via main stream media and start helping ourselves to the opportunities that are out there. 
 
“In the 21st century world we live in, distance is increasingly nullified as a barrier to trade.” 
 
 
ENDS 
Fox hunting 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Friday, August 31st, 2017 
 
 
Tally Ho! 
 
The traditional call of a rural hunt, resplendent in red, horn at the ready, all set to (illegally of course) hunt down Mr Fox. 
 
In reality, this is a metaphorical hunt which is vital for the country, with the huntsmen dressed in purple rather than red, as the future of the country depends on the trade deals lined up by Liam Fox. 
 
Taking a look at the good doctor’s website, there is no update on the news since March 21st. So what is going on? 
 
The UKIP leadership contest is taking eyes off the target, who is getting a very easy ride so far, when so much more criticism should be thrown his way. 
 
UKIP’s Bill Etheridge feels it is time the horns sound in earnest and the hounds let off the leash to hasten the currently sedentary pace being set by the Secretary for International Trade. 
 
The West Midlands MEP said "It is clear the EU has no intention of brokering a deal that is benefi-cial to the UK. 
 
“There is a constant refusal to discuss anything to do with trade until their preposterous demands have been met, for a divorce settlement that is based on accounts that have not been audited in over twenty years. 
 
“So if we are to move towards World Trade Organisation rules in our future dealings with EU coun-tries, we must have deals in place with the many countries around the world that have indicated in-terest. 
 
“New Zealand Trade minister Todd McClay is a perfect example of what a trade minister should be achieving. 
 
Mr McClay emphasised his willingness to trade as he said "I would suspect we would be one of a couple of countries that would have that opportunity fairly early in the piece," 
 
Mr Etheridge added “Once one deal is done, it will show the EU that the UK, as the world’s fifth biggest economy, is perfectly able to stand on it’s own two feet. 
 
“So come on Liam, stop Foxing around!” 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
Irish border oxymoron. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Wednesday, July 18th, 2017 
 
UKIPs Bill Etheridge has slammed Michel Barnier and his European Union negotiating team for announcing that the problem of the Irish border must be solved before any meaningful trade negotiations can take place. 
 
The West Midlands MEP was at pains to point out that the whole situation was a giant oxymoron as the talks on the border were in themselves the start of a trade negotiation. 
 
The Republic of Ireland depends on the UK as its main trading partner, with over £60bn of goods ex-changing hands each year. 
 
With the drop in the value of the pound since the referendum, Irish goods have become less competi-tive and the imposition of tariffs could see Irish firms go bust or being forced to relocate over the bor-der. 
 
In total, 400,000 jobs both sides of the border depend on the trade over it, without counting all the cross-border workers such as community nurses and farmers. 
 
Northern Irish trade is heavily reliant on the border being open, with 38% of exports going to the Re-public. 
 
From farm fields to finished product, the integration is such that an item may cross the border several times before it is ready for market. 
 
Mr Etheridge said, “This is yet another stalling tactic by the EU, with it becoming increasingly obvi-ous that they don’t actually want a deal. 
 
“They are trying to present it as a British problem, when in fact it is just the opposite. 
 
“All the issues lie with the external tariffs imposed by the EU as part of the customs union that we desperately need to leave. 
 
“M. Barnier should sort his own act out before coming to the table with such ludicrous demands.” 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
Etheridge backs JRE for leadership 
 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 
 
 
 
UKIP MEP, Bill Etheridge, a former leadership contender himself, today gave his full backing to John Rees Evans. 
 
Etheridge himself had previously stood down from his own leadership bid as he felt that there were too many contenders and this could give rise to a more extreme leader winning with a comparatively small section of the vote. 
 
Introducing proceedings at a press conference held at the Molineux Football Ground, Wolverhamp-ton, the West Midlands MEP said how he felt there was one stand-out contender. 
 
He was also impressed by the way the former soldier had taken knocks from the main stream media but had fought back. 
 
“We should not be looking for another Nigel” he added “There’s only one!” 
 
In his rousing speech Mr Rees-Evans said “He was clearly one of the leading candidates” and then said how impressed he was at Mr Etheridge for putting party interests before those of his own. 
 
His speech went on to claim that representative democracy was failing and that it was time for Di-rect Democracy. 
 
He added that he could think of no better person to oversee the new UKIP Direct project and poli-cy development, should he win, than the current Defence Spokesman. 
 
He said he wanted “a country where the government doesn’t interfere in (people’s) lives without your consent” 
 
Reform was need to the party constitution, he concluded, and those people whose need to be liked had led them to betraying UKIP’s values would need to find another party. 
 
Also in the firing line was mainstream media and some fellow candidates who he said had twisted his proposals to incentivise trade in the Commonwealth. 
 
The audience, who had no idea beforehand who Bill Etheridge was backing, warmed to the Welsh-man and gave him a spirited round of applause at the end. 
 
 
END 
Procurement failure. 
 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, August 21st, 2017 
 
 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP, Bill Etheridge has slammed the total waste on government pro-curement contracts as it was revealed that the UK spends twice as much as the rest of the EU put together. 
 
Figures released by the Tax Payers Alliance show that the UK published 167 contracts to the value of €100m or more. 
 
This compares with France, with 29, Italy 25 and Germany just FIVE. 
 
The UKIP Defence spokesman has regularly raised the issue of procurement inefficiencies within the armed forces. 
 
Commenting on the findings, Jan Zeber, Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance and author of the report, said: "From staplers to warships, public procurement regularly accounts for approximately a third of total public spending. 
 
“It is therefore crucial that value for taxpayers is at the heart of all public-sector purchasing decisions, no matter whether it's a multi-million-pound military vessel or stationery for the Cabinet Office.” 
 
Mr Etheridge said "A whole industry has grown up here, with giant procurement agencies dominating the purchasing of government requirements. 
 
“The taxpayer is more than entitled to know that his/her money is being spent in the most efficient way possible. 
 
“Our government has left itself reliant on giant outsourcing companies such as ATOS, Capita, G4S and Serco. 
 
“It is imperative the market is opened up to small and medium enterprises to provide competition and give value for money.” 
 
 
END 
Why are we confining a new ship to a harbour role? 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, July 10th, 2017 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge told of his “disgust” as news emerged that first of the Royal Navy’s Type-45 destroyers, HMS Daring, is to be reduced to the role of a harbour training ship. 
 
Yet HMS Dauntless, the ship that Daring was supposed to replace, will now get a refit starting at the end of the year. 
 
Due to manning issues, it is understood that Daring is currently in number 3 Basin in Portsmouth where she’s expected to remain for two years as a harbour training ship. 
 
The vessel has had a busy couple of years, being involved in Operation Inherent Resolve, fighting ISIS and then joining the Romanian Navy for exercises in the Black Sea. 
 
Mr Etheridge said, “I fail to see the logic in mothballing a modern destroyer, whilst spending money on its predecessor. 
 
“That it is due to ‘manning issues’ is extremely worrying and highlights the problems in recruitment and retention in the armed forces generally. 
 
With the new carriers coming into service the Royal Navy needs every support ship available to it and this Tory government needs to decide where its priorities lie. 
 
“Do we continue to give away billions in Foreign Aid or should the government spend that money on defending its peoples? 
 
 
 
ENDS 
How a Trade Minister should be. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, July 10th, 2017 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has praised New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay, saying he was setting an example of how a Trade Minister “should be” in fighting his country’s corner. 
 
Mr McClay spoke on the eve of the last Lions Test, a thrilling draw which left honours even, that he was hopeful that a meeting with UK Trade Minister Lord Price would shift talks of a free trade agreement up a gear. 
 
He said “We’re a small country a long way from everywhere, we need to keep reminding people of our relevance.” 
 
In contrast, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has been keeping a low profile over the last few months. Indeed, the News section of his website has not been updated since March. 
 
Mr Etheridge said, “Dr Fox has some questions to answer. If he has been working on post-Brexit trade deals, where is the evidence? 
 
“There is a very important distinction to draw here between David Davis and Liam Fox. As Brexit negotiator, Mr Davis is reporting back on developments, but shouldn’t be revealing his hand. 
 
“Dr Fox, on the other hand, has been saying nothing. He should be telling us about every single de-velopment as it strengthens the governments hand in negotiating Brexit with the EU. 
 
“The Tories, not for the first time, have got this the wrong way round, showing very clearly they neither apply nor understand game theory! 
 
“A trade deal with New Zealand is not the major step that a UK:US deal would be, but it would set the precedent, be a massively useful signal that the UK is serious and prove that such a deal can be done. 
 
“Dr Fox has to show he can get to First Base somewhere and having such a positive counterpart as Mr McClay can only make this easier.” 
 
 
ENDS 
An introduction to the Indigo Group 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 
 
There is growing support for a dangerous socialist narrative that is currently advancing across Europe. Even UKIP has seen a rise of authoritarianism in its ranks. Therefore, it is vital that supporters of freedom and liberty offer an inspirational alternative. 
 
The Indigo Group was formed to ensure that an individual’s right to freedom and liberty remains the cornerstone of political and economic thinking. We believe in promoting libertarian values in a world that is being increasingly shaped by the state. 
 
We are a think tank, a collective for like-minded individuals, which has been a refuge for more liberal and economic minded people. 
 
The Indigo Group consists of a team of competent and committed professionals who wish to stimulate debate in the UK and create a new aspirational vision that empowers people to trust themselves rather than the Government. 
 
Whitehall has become too big and powerful and only the individual, via the market, can free them-selves. Economic and individual freedom is the key to prosperity and the state need only be a 
night-watchman not a prison guard. 
 
On this basis, there are three key principles to this movement: 
 
Firstly, freedom for the individual to choose is fundamental, secondly taxes that are necessary to fi-nance Government expenditure can over time damage economic prosperity for all and finally all poli-cies must encompass a sense of British fair play. 
 
The policy papers address a number of areas that need a different political and economic approach and provide a lifeboat for those fleeing the authoritarian takeover of UKIP. 
 
Mr Etheridge (Chair) said, “The Indigo Group is all about individual freedom, the right to live life as unfettered as possible by state control. 
 
“It sets out to treat all individuals the same, with all coming under the same laws, yet providing a strong law and order vision to protect all citizens from harm. 
 
“As the socialists rally in the UK under Corbyn, it is vital that people understand that you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. 
 
“I invite everyone to take a look at our proposals which they can find on our website; www.theindigogroup.org.” 
 
 
 
ENDS 
What kind of party do we want? 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 
 
 
Leading UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has set out his priorities for UKIP to move forward after the leadership election. 
Mr Etheridge said "Any party that considers me as a left wing figure is way, way too far to the right. 
“We have to decide what we want. I want a party that pushes for full and complete freedom for our country from the EU. I want a party that is outward facing that deals with the Commonwealth, new trade deals and talks to people across the world as friends and equals. 
“I want an immigration policy that is completely colour blind, and that doesn’t apply prejudice against anyone, that simply judges people on merit: That is the party I am looking for. 
“I want to see less tax, flatter tax and a focus on the economy, a focus on making sure that we have jobs and fewer rules and regulations, more sensible governance, defence that keeps us safe. I want law and order that makes us safe, that makes the streets safe: That’s what I’m looking for. If that makes me a leftie snowflake, then maybe I need to listen to that. 
“This week I am going to talk to members and see what it is they want. If they want marches on the street, a total focus of our party based on analysis and critique, based on one religion and have a manifesto based on who has read the Koran and who hasn’t. 
“Frankly, let’s get this on the record: I am not interested in reading the Koran. I am not interested in reading the Torah. I am not interested in reading the Bible: I am not interested in reading any holy book. What I am interested in is British law for British people applying to everyone in this country. If you want something more theology based, you and I will differ. 
“If you want a party that’s based around the rule of law, freedom, liberty, equal opportunity for all to have a good start in life, then I want to be part of it and I want to be part of it with you. 
“Don’t let this party go down a track you’re not comfortable with. Think about this. It’s up to you what happens. I want to be part of a sensible, fair, libertarian party. That’s what I want; you have to decide what you want.” 
From dangerous fantasy to reality 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, June 16th, 2017 
 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, the party’s Defence Spokesman, lambasted the EU today as the threat of a european army marched ever closer. 
One of Germany’s most senior defence officials became the latest to add his voice to calls for a Eu-ropean army. 
Hans-Peter Bartels, Germany’s national defence commissioner, called for NATO’s EU members to organise their militaries into a single force. 
Mr Bartels used the criticism of President Trump as justification, saying Europe’s defences were “too fragmented”. 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said "From Nick Clegg’s “Dangerous fantasy”, we see the reality taking shape. 
 
“Bring the EU NATO forces together under one umbrella, risks muddying the lines of command and fragmenting the unity that has prevented a world scale war for over seventy years. 
 
“This just shows why it is so important to get a clean Brexit. Imagine our armed forces, instead of swearing allegiance to the Queen, doing the same to a cognac-swilling Jean-Claude Juncker?!” 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
Issued: 2nd June 2017 
 
Local candidate Bill Etheridge MEP pledges support for local pubs and brewers 
 
Cllr Bill Etheridge MEP, local UKIP candidate for Dudley North standing in the General Election has pledged their support for pub-goers and beer drinkers in the West Midlands by backing CAMRA’s Election Manifesto. 
 
CAMRA’s 187,000 members are asking candidates to promote and celebrate Britain’s 1,540 breweries and over 50,000 pubs by considering a range of measures to help make pub-going and beer drinking more affordable for UK consumers. 
 
Bill has committed to: 
· Celebrate and promote Britain’s breweries 
· Support action to help pubs thrive 
· Represent the interest of pub-goers, beer and cider drinkers if elected into the next Parliament 
 
Beer, brewing and pubs support nearly 900,000 jobs and contribute £23.1bn to the economy annually. Candidates are therefore being urged to ensure the sector is not left behind in the Brexit negotiations due to take place in the coming years. 
 
Mr Etheridge says: “I am proud to be speaking up for pubs and real ale. Well-run community pubs play a crucial role in local life and can have a huge impact on people’s happiness and social inclusion. If elected, I will continue to show my support in the next Parliament.” 
 
Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says: “We are delighted that Bill has pledged their support for beer and pubs. Pubs are a uniquely British institution which showcase our nation’s brewing tradition while providing an essential community facility for those that use them. It is therefore critical that pub-goers and beer drinkers are not left behind when it comes to negotiating Britain’s future over the coming years.” 
 
Ends 
UKIP candidates to meet public May 30th 7pm. 
 
 
EVENT DATE: Monday, May 29th, 2017 
 
 
UKIP candidates for the 2017 General Election will be in Oldbury tomorrow (May 30th) at the Railway public house in Bromford Road from 7pm. 
 
Cllr Bill Etheridge MEP (Dudley North) and Cllr Star Anderton (West Bromwich West) plus others will be speaking at a key event in the run-up to next week’s vote. 
 
There will also be an opportunity to meet the candidates themselves over a leisurely pint. 
 
Mr Etheridge, UKIP’s Sedgley councillor, said “I hope to see as many people there as possible, to find out what we really stand for.” 
 
 
 
 
END 
Fiddlers Arms Asset of Community Value 
 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, May 22nd, 2017 
 
 
 
UKIP West Midlands Bill Etheridge MEP has welcomed the news that the Fiddlers Arms in Lower Gornal has been the subject of an application for Asset of Community Value status in an attempt to fight off a proposed demolition and replacement with a Co-Op convenience store. 
 
The application, backed by a committee of locals and CAMRA members has been submitted to Dud-ley Council and, if approved, will delay any development by at least six months. 
 
A public meeting was held on Friday 19th May, where Mr Etheridge’s Parliamentary Aide, Martin Day, also a local pub campaigner, told the crowd that the measure would buy the campaign to save the pub vital time. 
 
A petition now numbering 880 names has also been submitted in objection to the plans. 
 
Dudley North General Election candidate Mr Etheridge, said "It is great to see the community com-ing together in this way to save a local asset. 
 
“As a member of CAMRA myself, I feel it is very important to save our pubs from this sort of unnec-essary development. 
 
“The deal that saw Marston’s sell 250 pubs to New River Retail for development has left dozens of Black Country pubs under threat. 
 
“Dudley and its surrounding area has seen enough of its historical pubs close. We must do our best to protect those that are left. 
 
Mr Day added “It has been lovely to see the pub get progressively busier during the time I’ve been involved with the campaign. 
 
“The recent St George’s Family Fun Day not only provided a huge profits boost for the pub, but also raised £390 for charity.” 
Defence spending down to a 20 year low. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, May 8th, 2017 
 
 
UKIP Defence Spokesman Bill Etheridge told of his “disgust” at news UK Defence spending had reached a 20-year low. 
 
The 1.98% spend during 2016 not only fell below the 2% NATO target, but was also the worst annual spend in percentage terms for twenty years. 
 
The dip was caused by the economy growing faster last year than defence spending. 
 
However, despite the dip below the 2% benchmark, the Commons Public Accounts Committee said it was “very concerned” that the £178 billion equipment procurement plan was at risk. 
 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said, "The Conservatives, once the party we could count on to keep us safe, think nothing of giving our money away in the form of foreign aid, and now seem willing to compromise our safety to do so. 
 
“So called austerity is blamed for cuts to spending on the disabled, our council services and defence, so why doesn’t it affect EU contributions, foreign aid and EU vanity projects like HS2? 
 
“The USA has called on Europe to increase investment in defence, yet here we are, supposedly the USA’s closest ally, cutting ours. 
 
“These figures are a disgrace and I am disgusted at this government’s priorities. 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
Free parking trial starts today in Dudley 
 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 
 
 
 
Sedgley’s UKIP councillor Bill Etheridge and his fellow UKIP councillors have hailed the Free Parking trial that starts in Dudley today and runs till the 2nd of July. 
 
The trial affects council car parks in Dudley, Halesowen and Sedgley. If successful, this could be rolled out throughout the Borough. 
 
The purple party have long advocated free parking, saying the gains from increased footfall, trade and ultimately Business rates garnered would outweigh any loss of revenue from the car parks. 
 
Cllr Etheridge, also UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, said "I’m delighted that this long established UKIP policy is finally being actioned. 
 
“It will have substantial benefit to local shops and businesses. The role of government at any level should include facilitating better trading conditions for local business men. 
 
“The UKIP group on Dudley council has achieved yet another victory for the people of our borough by pushing for these common sense measures. 
 
“I truly hope the scheme is eventually rolled out everywhere in the borough" 
 
 
 
 
END 
Fellow MEPs “Traitors” says UKIPs Etheridge 
 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Thursday, April 6th, 2017 
 
 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP, UKIP Defence Spokesman, blasted fellow West Midlands MEPs as traitors and said they should be ashamed of themselves for not truly representing the people of the West Midlands. 
 
UKIP put forward a series of amendments to the Brexit debate in the European Parliament yesterday, all of which were voted down by huge majorities. What was disgraceful, according to Mr Etheridge, was the way UK MEPs from both the Conservatives and Labour failed to back the nation’s best interests. 
 
Labour were foremost in his sights as they voted against UKIP amendments to the Brexit debate aimed at ensuring that no further contributions were made to the EU budget after the UK leaves the union. 
 
The UK’s Conservative MEPs also felt that the country should continue propping up the struggling economic union with UK taxpayers cash. 
 
Labour also voted against an amendment to say that free movement of peoples should discontinue and even against the reclamation of our fishing waters. 
 
UKIP considers that the continuation of the free movement of people would be a betrayal of the will of the British people, yet the Labour MEPs saw fit to vote against the wishes of their constituents who voted conclusively to Leave the crumbling bloc. The Conservatives merely abstained. 
 
The whole Labour contingent also voted against the rights of UK ex-pats to stay in Europe after the UK pulls out. 
 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said “It is difficult to say I am surprised any more by the traitorous antics of members of the two major parties. 
 
“These individuals were elected to represent the people of the West Midlands, yet the only interests they were concerned about are their own. They should be ashamed of themselves. 
 
“For many years they have benefited from the European gravy train and it seems they do not have the desire to get off. 
 
“On issue after issue the British people were betrayed by both Tory and Labour MEPs voting for their own salaries and perks rather than the good of the country. 
 
“Will our local MPs denounce their European counterparts and back the will of their local constituents?” 
 
 
 
 
END 
Wat-er poor show as MEPs have to face a cold wash. 
 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, March 11th, 2017 
 
 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge and his fellow MEPs face a cold spell in the European Par-liament as legionella levels have risen above what the European Parliament calls the “quality limit”. 
 
Precautionary measures include the immediate closure of the distribution of warm water in Brussels to all Members’ offices. The same measures have been applied to Members’ offices in Strasbourg. 
 
Control of this deadly disease involves avoiding water temperatures and conditions that fa-vour the growth of legionella and other micro-organisms. 
 
Only systems where the pipework is shorter and more manageable remain with warm water as the Director General of Infrastructure and Logistics attempts to get on top of the problem. 
 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said "If it wasn’t so serious it would be comical. 
 
“On one hand the European Union is fighting to retain control of the UKs fishing waters, yet in Brussels it cannot manage to control a little warm water to MEPs offices. 
 
“With these offices only fully used half the time due to constituency work and the ridiculous monthly move to Strasbourg, the stagnating water in the Brussels pipes is a disaster waiting to happen. 
 
“The Parliament here is similar to the water; infested, dangerous and cold. Roll on 2019.” 
 
 
 
 
END 
Defence spokesman “encouraged” at news of Poseidon purchases 
 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Thursday, April 6th, 2017 
 
 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP, UKIP Defence Spokesman, has expressed reserved approval of the news that Britain is to purchase two Boeing P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft. 
 
The planes, due for delivery in 2019, will form the eventual replacement for Britain’s Nimrod early warning aircraft which were decommissioned in 2011 leaving the UK without an effective surveillance for Russian submarines. 
 
Makers Boeing have just announced a huge $2.2bn order between the US, UK and Australia. 
 
However Mr Etheridge is still concerned at underfunding in the armed forces as it emerged that Australia is to purchase a further four Poseidons, thus expanding their P-8A fleet to six. 
 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said “Of course I am encouraged to see a vital gap in our security being addressed. 
 
“However, questions must be asked. By the time these aircraft are delivered there will have been an eight year period where we were vulnerable to foreign powers. 
 
“When do we find out how many the government are going to buy as two are clearly insufficient to patrol 2 million square miles of UK waters. 
 
“And finally, what of our own capacity to build surveillance craft? Buying off the shelf might be seen as ‘cheaper’, but if the domestic capability to design and manufacture military equipment is lost it will leave the nation’s security at the mercy of foreign powers.” 
 
 
 
 
END 
Stop funding Palestinian terror. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 
 
 
UKIP Defence Spokesman Bill Etheridge has called for an end to funding terrorism through the Palestinian Authority from UK taxpayers money, saying Trade, not Aid was the way to true peace in the region. 
 
Foreign Aid from both the EU and UK budgets contributes to a total in the region of €1bn a year, much of which finds its way to Hamas terrorists. 
 
One such scheme, involving €140m per annum, funds fighters who have been imprisoned by the Israelis. Monthly stipends are paid to the terrorists’ families. 
 
The value of this can be several times an average wage on the West Bank and leads to Arab activists committing heinous crimes at the expense of killing and maiming Jewish citizens. 
 
Attending the launch today of the Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament, Mr Etheridge was humbled to meet one young victim, Ayala Shapira and her mother Ruth. 
 
Ayala was hit by a Molotov Cocktail and suffered 40% second and third degree burns. She has to wear a protective mask 24 hours a day and even three years later cannot let any affected skin be touched by sunlight. 
 
In sharp contrast, Mr Moshe Lev-Ran, the International Export Manager of Twitoplast Ltd, a factory on the West Bank, was employing Palestinians and treating them as equals. The wages earned there were many times the local average and there were no restrictions on promotion within the company. 
 
Mr Lev-Ran told how his efforts were being hampered by tariffs on Israeli goods, despite the Palestinian Authority enjoying the benefits of free trade. 
 
Today is the first day that the Israelis have had any formal representation in the European Parliament and the hopes are that the pro-Palestinian bias can be brought to an end. 
 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said, "I am humbled that this incredibly brave girl and her mother have made the effort to come to Brussels and let everyone know what the real situation is. 
 
“The message from all the Israeli representatives was that the peace cannot be won by government intervention alone, but through free trade, enriching the region and removing the incentive to wreak havoc on fellow citizens. 
 
“We were all touched by the horrific attack in Westminster last week and rightly so, but the Jewish people face these atrocities every single day. 
 
“Hamas attack Israel in the same way ISIS is terrorising Western Europe. We should not be encouraging either organisation to show the other how to inflict maximum damage. 
 
“I want to see a more secure Israel, with Jews and Palestinians working side by side and not in constant fear of their lives. An end to the funding of terror would be a massive step in the right direction.” 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
Reaction to SEDE recommendations for Brexit 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, March 27th, 2017 
 
 
UKIP Defence spokesman Bill Etheridge has issued a strong rebuff to suggestions that the UK could still be involved in a European Army, even after Brexit. 
 
As with all other committees, the Security and Defence Committee (SEDE), has submitted an initial assessment of implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. 
 
These reports will form the opening stance for European negotiators such as Guy Verhofstadt and Michel Barnier once Article 50 is invoked. 
 
The EFDD MEP has picked up on a number of points in the report which he calls “scary”. 
 
The document acknowledges that the EU would lose around 25% of its military capacity with the loss of the UK and this would have an impact on research. 
 
The report then goes on to suggest that the UK could remain part of both the European Defence Agency (EDA) and even an EU Battlegroup. Continuing participation could require contributions to the EDA’s budget. 
 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said, "When the electorate voted for Brexit last year, they did not vote for a European Army. 
 
“Despite the likes of Nick Clegg telling us that it was a “dangerous fantasy”, the European Army is fast becoming a reality and the UK should have nothing to do with it. 
 
“It is NATO that has kept the peace in Europe for the last 70 years, not the EU. The whole subject of the European Army is a scary proposal which will leave many nations with a conflict of interest. 
 
“I am all for co-operation between nations, but having to pay for the privilege is absurd.” 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
“Dirty tricks” used in pub battle. 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, March 13th, 2017 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP, Bill Etheridge, himself a CAMRA member, has condemned the use of “dirty tricks” in the battle to save the Fiddlers Arms in Lower Gornal from demolition. 
 
The locally listed building, parts of which date back to c.1860, is due to be replaced by a Co-Op convenience store and five houses. 
 
Owners New River Retail, however, have not submitted a planning application in the normal way, but instead have sent Dudley Council a Prior Notice of Demolition. 
 
In essence, this means that the plans do not need to go to the Planning Committee and the council’s only responsibility will be to ensure that the demolition is carried out safely. 
 
The popular pubs locally listed status ceases to be effective under this piece of national planning law. 
 
The risk is that the developers can finish with an empty piece of land if the new plans are subsequently rejected, but it seems a risk New River are prepared to take in order to avoid opposition to the demolition. 
 
A recent petition against the development garnered 740 signatures. 
 
Mr Etheridge, also councillor for Sedgley, said “New River are now playing dirty tricks in their quest to wilfully destroy listed buildings. 
 
“The pub trade has enough troubles of its own, without ruthless opportunists reducing the local heritage, without even being overseen by democratically elected councillors. 
 
Pub regular Kate Humphries said “This is very shocking and sad news for our local pub and other listed buildings out there. Something needs to be done to prevent this happening and give local councils more power to act. 
 
Local pub campaigner Martin Day said “The Fiddlers Arms is a locally listed building and should be retained for future generations and not demolished. It feels like pure vandalism knocking it down and we will be losing another piece of local history.” 
 
END 
Whoever ordered these ships should walk the plank. 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, February 27th, 2017 
 
UKIP Defence Spokesman, Bill Etheridge was furious as news emerged about further issues with the UK’s new generation ships. 
 
The new Type 26 Frigates are to be fitted with launchers that will not fire a British made missile. It means US Tomahawk missiles will have to be bought a massive extra cost. 
 
However, the Ministry of Defence’s £178billion ten-year equipment plan does not currently include any money which is allocated for their purchase. 
 
This news comes after revelations that the Type 45 destroyer has engines that are so noisy they can be heard by a Russian submarine 100 miles away and break down in warmer waters. 
 
The Uks own submarine fleet was recently revealed to be all in dock due to breakdowns and refits, with only one vessel out on sea trials. 
 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said “The Royal Navy were once the envy of the whole world, now it is being made to be a laughing stock. 
 
“If you wrote a comedy show where there were aircraft carriers without aircraft, it would be dismissed by the programme schedulers as too unrealistic. 
 
Yet this sort of idiocy is happening again and again! 
 
“Far from Defence Procurement being able to use joined up thinking, I am beginning to wonder if they can manage joined up writing!” 
 
ENDS 
Call for zero tolerance on FGM 
 
Tweet from WMP 'causes concern' which must be clarified says Jane Collins MEP 
 
UKIP Home Affairs spokeswoman Jane Collins MEP has said West Midlands police "must clarify" their position on prosecuting parents and cutters in FGM cases following a tweet last night shedding doubt on a zero tolerance approach. 
 
Ms Collins is querying a comment from DC Squires, West Midlands Police 'FGM expert' who said the police 'WILL prosecute parents or cutters' but stipulated it would need to be 'in the child's best interests.' 
 
"It is in the best interests of everyone that this child abuse is eradicated," Ms Collins said. "I cannot envisage a situation where the mutilation of a young girl which causes physical and psychological trauma, would result in a decision not to prosecute." 
 
"FGM has no place in the UK; it is an imported cultural practise which should be expunged from our country and those who are involved in any way with the abuse of these girls should feel the full force of the law. 
 
"It is only by prosecuting - and I agree with the Commons Home Affairs select committee that it is a 'national scandal' there has yet to be a successful prosecution in the UK since 1985 when it was made illegal - that people will realise we will not live in a country with more than one set of laws. 
 
"I don't care if people say it's cultural - it is sick, wrong and illegal and must be enforced with stronger sanctions. That is why this kind of message put out in the tweet from WMP worries me. 
 
Only one FGM prosecution has been brought to trial since 1985 and both defendants in that case were cleared in 2015. 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge said he found it "concerning" that there "might be a situation where police do not take action against someone guilty of this disgusting crime." 
 
"The West Midlands include areas which have a high proportion of ethnic minorities so whilst I am pleased West Midlands Police have someone focused on stopping this barbarism and dealing with the criminals who mutilate the genitals of children I want to know that people are not let off claiming the victims someone would be better off without them being prosecuted." 
ENDS 
Get a move on! 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, February 27th, 2017 
 
Ukip Defence spokesman Bill Etheridge MEP said the government "must get a move on with leaving the EU else we risk being held to ransom by countries who financially benefit from our net EU contributions." 
"The British public will not be forced to remain in a corrupt organisation and this legislation is set to all but kill off democratic rights," he said. 
"The result of a referendum which was run in favour of the remain side, is being continually attacked by those in favour of staying in, people like Gina Miller. She thinks her wealth is more important than democracy and that is an insult to voters. 
"Just think of the money that could be used to help the NHS and social care or be properly invested in our Armed Forces," he said. 
"And if the EU should try to stop us leaving using the new rule changes I consider it to be a breach of our human rights and will take it further. 
"That is why UKIP are calling for the 1972 European Communities Act to be revoked as that is UK statute law." 
He also added the House of Lords "will be signing their own death warrant" if they try to stop Brexit but added "aside from a few excellent legislators including my own colleagues who will be championing the wishes of the voters, that could be no bad thing." 
 
ENDS 
UKIP Defence spokesman slams do-gooders for “funding terrorism”. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 
 
 
 
UKIP Defence spokesman Bill Etheridge has slammed the soft UK Government and “do-gooder” lawyers for funding terrorism. 
 
His comments come as news emerged that the Mosul suicide bomber was a former detainee of Guantanamo Bay. Islamic State group said two days ago that Abu-Zakariya al-Britani detonated a car bomb at an Iraqi army base in Tal Gaysum, south-west of Mosul. 
Al-Britani is believed to be Ronald Fiddler, 50 from Manchester, who was sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2002. 
He was released after two years of internment and the Daily Mail reported he was awarded a million pounds in compensation. 
 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said "These repeated compensation payments are funding terrorism. 
 
“With the recent cases opened about former servicemen and their actions in theatres of war, to the tank-chasing lawyers and now compensation paid to former detainees, we have seen too much money wasted. These are funds that should have gone towards defending our citizens. 
 
“The United States would not have gone through all the time, trouble and international criticism if they had not suspected the detainees were capable of committing atrocities. 
 
“It is time to stop the thinking that there is good in everyone and realise that there are people out there that wish to do us harm.” 
 
 
 
ENDS 
UKIP Defence spokesman echoes Trump call for defence spending. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Thursday, February 16th, 2017 
 
 
 
UKIP Defence spokesman Bill Etheridge has echoed US President Donald Trump after his call for European nations to increase their spending on defence. 
 
The call comes as news emerged that the UK had failed to meet its pledge of 2% after an increase in GDP. 
 
European leaders in Brussels received a warning from US Defence secretary Jim Mattis that allies must significantly increase their defense spending “if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance”. 
 
Such has been the decline in spending since the break-up of the Soviet Union that the Belgian military was forced to ask the U.S. for hand-me-down flak jackets for its soldiers when it deployed domestically in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels in recent years. 
 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the west Midlands, said "With the twin threats of Islamic fundamentalism and a resurgent Russia, it is imperative that all NATO nations meet or exceed the agreed 2%. 
"We have a crisis in Armed Forces recruitment despite government protestations there is no problem. We have a severe lack of heavy artillery, of operational submarines, carriers without aircraft and insufficient infantry fighting vehicles. 
"The UK should not be in a position where an uplift in GDP means we miss our 2% target. We should be spending much more than that because we have a ground to make up after years of deficiencies. 
"Unfortunately after years of Blairite internationalism where we send our troops to everyone else's conflicts and the mistaken belief that spending billions on foreign aid is better than defence spending, we have insufficient numbers of armed forces who are not properly equipped, and a Defence procurement system which is not fit for purpose.” 
 
 
 
ENDS 
Submarine fleet out of service 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Friday, February 10th, 2017 
 
UKIP defence spokesman, Bill Etheridge MEP, has blasted the government for their lack of spending on the Royal Navy as news emerged that the entire UK fleet of seven submarines is out of service. 
 
The problem-hit Astute class, which has slowly been replacing the older Trafalgar class is built by BAE Systems, along with Type 45 Destroyers which break down in hot weather. 
 
Only one submarine, HMS Astute, is at sea and she is having sea trials after a refit. She is said to be weeks away from being able to undertake missions. 
 
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said “This story underlines two vital points that I have been making over the last few weeks. 
 
“Firstly, that under-investment in our military capacity has left the cupboard bare - the slightest problem exposes the lack of back-up. 
 
“Secondly, our defence procurement, headed by Tony Douglas, on a salary and bonus package in excess of £500k a year is definitely sub-standard. 
 
“We now have ships that break down in warm water, aircraft carriers with no aircraft and not a single serviceable submarine. 
 
“Quite honestly the man should do the honourable thing and resign. He has failed the troops, failed the tax-payer and failed the country!” 
 
END 
Emergency Department closures. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 
 
UKIP West Midlands Bill Etheridge MEP has lambasted plans to close or downgrade the number of adult Emergency Departments across England. 
 
There are currently around 185 Type 1 adult emergency departments and a number of these are facing closure or downgrade. 
 
The Health Service Journal suggests 24 emergency departments may be closed or downgraded in this parliament, around 15% of the NHS England total. 
 
The HSJ also reports “A government announcement on emergency and urgent care policy is expected later this week. There is much to address, especially as new money is highly unlikely.” 
 
The plans include The County Hospital University Hospitals North Midlands Trust which comprises both The Royal Stoke and the County Hospital, Stafford. 
 
Mr Etheridge said “It seems that either the Royal Stoke or the County Hospital will face the swing of this government’s axe as it tries to deal with decades of failure by both Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems. 
“I am concerned that because one hospital is represented by a Conservative, there could be political pressure inside the government to direct cuts towards Stoke. 
“High demand and workforce shortages are unlikely to end any time soon. If anything, we should be increasing, not decreasing the capacity. 
 
“It is a feature of this period of austerity that all the cuts seem to be to front-line services and not to the back room pen-pushers.” 
 
END 
The threat to Dove House. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Friday, February 10th, 2017 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP, Bill Etheridge, has been backed by the UKIP group in Dudley Council chambers, in his opposition to the threatened closure of Dove House. This currently provides a drop-in service to Dudley residents with mental health issues. 
 
The Council has traditionally funded Dudley MIND as an organisation to provide support to people with Mental Health. The provision of Dove House, located at Bushey Fields, supports this function. 
 
However, there is a risk that MIND do not win the new round of funding, which would put Dove House at risk. In addition, the new focus is on individuals with higher needs. 
 
UKIP group leader, Cllr Paul Brothwood, stated "My group is concerned by this latest move by the council. 
 
“The treatment provided by Dove House is unprecedented and excellent value for money for the tax payer of Dudley" 
 
"It is vital the Council understand the long term social and economic costs potentially associated with closing this facility. Our group will do all it can to block this latest attack on the most vulnerable in our community." 
 
Mr Etheridge, also councillor for Sedgley, said “I am delighted that my colleagues agree that this excellent unit should remain open. 
 
“To close it would be very short-sighted as providing a drop-in facility is vital in saving sufferers from full-time hospital residency, which costs far more. 
 
“With the WMCA having secured £12m for mental health services, Dudley Council proposing a 4.99% Council Tax rise and central government assuring us they want better provision generally, there is no excuse for closing Dove House!” 
UKIP Defence spokesman calls for pre-emptive strikes on any terrorist held chemicals. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 
 
 
 
Bill Etheridge, UKIP Defence spokesman, has called for pre-emptive strikes against any known chemical dumps in terrorist hands. 
 
Weeks after the Christmas market attack in Berlin, German government issued a paper stating the country was at “high risk” of terrorist attacks carried out by “Islamist-motivated perpetrators” who could use chemicals to contaminate drinking water. 
 
There have been reports that Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) was in possession of chemical weapons stockpiles emerged in the past from time to time. 
 
The Russian Air Force said it had destroyed several chemical weapons facilities in IS-controlled parts of Syria, while the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have acknowledged that the terrorist group may have produced and deployed sulfur mustard gas in both Syria and Iraq. 
 
In early January, British Security Minister Ben Wallace said Islamic State militants are keen to carry out large-scale attacks in the UK and have “no moral objection to using chemical weapons.” 
 
Mr Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, said “Whilst UKIP are generally non-interventionist, we have to reserve the right to defend our citizens. 
 
“These illegal stores of chemicals represent a clear and present danger to our people and pre-emptive strikes are necessary. 
 
“We cannot hold back and give these merciless fanatics the opportunity to use them.” 
UKIP Defence spokesman hails the increasing reality of EU “irrelevance”. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 
 
 
 
Bill Etheridge, UKIP Defence spokesman, has highlighted the growing trend of civil service confidence in Brexit as the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Stephen Lovegrove said the EU is “operationally irrelevant”. 
 
Writing in the Civil Service World, Mr Lovegrove put “EU membership is operationally irrelevant to the multinational and binational arrangements through which the UK currently insures itself”. 
 
Referring to recent NATO deployments in Poland, he added “You will see that of the four lead nations, two of them – Canada and the USA – are not European nations, and before too long, three of them won’t be”. 
 
It is a remarkable turnaround from the letter issued from Downing Street 11 months ago, which claimed that remaining in the EU was “in our national interest”. 
 
Mr Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, said “What a difference a year makes. 
 
“Finally our government and civil servants are waking up and realising what a great country this is.” 
 
“So many of the countries in the European Union have failed to meet NATO spending targets that the EU has indeed become an irrelevance. 
 
“Whatever bureaucratic ties there are between our armed forces and the EU should be cut forthwith.” 
Labour is playing politics with national security 
 
Published Jan 23, 2017 
 
thumbnail_bill2.jpgBill Etheridge, UKIP Defence spokesman, has condemned Labour in the wake of revelations that a Trident test resulted in a misdirected missile. 
 
Labour and the Scottish National Party have been urging the government to give a full explanation to MPs on why test firing a Trident missile went wrong. 
 
The unarmed missile headed towards Florida instead of its intended target weeks before MPs voted to renew the nuclear weapons system. 
 
Nia Griffith, Labour's shadow defence secretary, has called on the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to give "a full explanation" to MPs later. 
 
Mr Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, said “Whilst the failure of a missile test is a grave matter, is it one that should be discussed in the public arena? 
 
“Surely it would be better for the experts in that field to be allowed to analyse and correct the fault without hindrance. 
 
“Labour and indeed the Scottish Nationals are consistent in their desire to run down UK security, revealing details in the public domain. 
 
“What next? Are they going to ask for a weekly debrief into the location of our nuclear submarines?” 
Save the Fiddlers Arms 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, January 23rd, 2017 
 
 
 
Bill Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, is to write to the Co-Operative as plans emerged for yet another convenience store, in a move that would see the historic Fiddlers Arms public house in Lower Gornal demolished. 
 
The MEP, who is a member of CAMRA, believes the locally listed building, parts of which date back to 1860 and possibly before, is worth saving. 
 
Locals have set up a petition, which can be signed in local shops and is also available at the pub itself. The campaign group are also running raffles to pay for entertainment in another effort to boost trade. 
 
Trade had gone down in the High Street pub, but new management couple Roy and Sue have seen a sharp increase in trade in recent months. 
 
The Fiddlers Arms is also home to a Pigeon Flyers club and is also used by a church group, plus pool and domino players. 
 
Mr Etheridge, also a councillor for Sedgley, said “It would be crying shame to lose yet another lovely old building. 
 
“The deal between New River Retail and the Co-Operative is one drawn up by accountants with no acknowledgement of local communities. 
 
“Our pubs are the heartbeat of the community and should be cherished. People also forget about the numbers of people employed by this sector. 
 
Josh Green, from the British Beer and Pub association said “Analysis from Oxford Economics indicates there will be 21,000 more jobs in the brewing and pubs sector compared to what would have been the case under had the Beer Duty Escalator not been scrapped in 2013 and no cuts made thereafter.” 
 
Mr Etheridge concluded “I urge everyone to get behind this campaign, buy a raffle ticket, sign the petition, and above all, drink the beer there.” 
Let’s give our pint its crown back. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, January 8th, 2017 
 
 
 
CAMRA member and UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has raised a glass to the longed-for return of the crown stamp on the side of pint and half-pint glasses. 
 
The 300-yr old system for verification of the exact size of a pint glass ended in 2007 when it was replaced by the EU wide CE mark, which stands for European Conformity. 
 
Opponents at the time, such as JD Wetherspoon's chairman Tim Martin, Giles Thorley, chief executive of Punch Taverns, and Anthony Fuller, chairman of Fuller's brewery, were ignored as Brussels stamped its authority over the UK’s weights and measures. 
 
With most glass production in the Czech Republic due to lower costs, a move to a 500ml glass would be difficult to avoid if the EU decided on it. 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a Sedgley councillor, said "All drinkers remember the crown mark, knowing that it guaranteed them a full pint, indeed there are still some around. 
 
"Reintroduced gradually, as replacements, they are not a throwback to a nostalgic era, but a move to put us back in control of the production and specifications of our own pint. 
 
"Across the whole range of manufacturing we have to look at returning to our own systems of British Standards as we unravel ourselves from EU red tape. 
 
“Any nostalgia should be to return to an era when British Standards set the agenda and were respected throughout the world. 
 
“Once we are free to make our own trade deals again, they will be at the forefront of our sales pitch.” 
Defence spokesman calls for “substantial investment” in armed forces. 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Thursday, January 5th, 2017 
 
 
 
Bill Etheridge, UKIP Defence spokesman, has called for substantial investment in the UK’s armed forces. 
 
His call echoes that of General Sir Richard Barrons, who told the BBC yesterday that UK and NATO defences are not up to the current threat from Russia.* 
 
Referring to Michael Fallon’s comments that the UK would be ready for a war with Russia in two years time, the former Commander of UK Joint Forces said that it would require "a massive escalation of planning and capability.” 
 
Sir Richard said NATO forces had been in a state of “progressive demobilisation” and were not ready to face “the kind of things Russia is now able to present". 
 
Mr Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, said “One has to ask why a front line government minister is even talking about the prospect of going to war with Russia. 
 
“The best way to avoid war is to maintain a suitable deterrent, both conventional and nuclear, so that neither side feels it has an advantage over the other. 
 
“But the General’s comments tell us just how far UK defences have been weakened under both Tory and Labour governments. 
 
“With the twin threats of Russia and Islamic fundamentalism, the world is at the most dangerous it has been since the end of the Cold war. 
 
“What we need is substantial investment into our defence capabilities to counteract the last few decades of neglect.” 
Call for reform of New Years Honours 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 
 
 
 
Bill Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, says it is time to scrap, or at the very least completely reform, the New Year’s Honours list. 
 
Once again, he says there is a smattering of deserving recipients mixed in with people who have simply done their job and political cronies. 
 
The biggest bone of contention for the MEP is the MBE awarded to Nick Lowles, founder of Hope not Hate, a Charitable Trust which is heavily involved in left wing politics. 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a councillor for Sedgley, said “The honouring of Nick Lowles from Hope Not Hate is the ultimate abuse of the system. 
 
“Here is a man who runs an organisation designed to negatively campaign against political parties he personally deems unacceptable and spends huge amounts of time causing upset and distress to people simply trying to make use of their democratic right to free speech . 
 
“It is an organisation that has members involved in mobs protesting at political meetings and during the General Election engaged in appalling negative and personal campaigning against candidates it decided should not win. 
 
“Mr Lowles and his organisation are exactly the kind of people they claim to be against. They are divisive trouble-makers who seek to disrupt the fair democratic process in this country. 
 
“His award as well as some of the other rather peculiar recipients should be the final straw. This system is broken at best, corrupt at worst, and we should not subject the Queen to having to be a part of this. 
 
“I call for there to be no more honours until the system is reviewed and reformed.” 
UKIP Defence spokesman calls for investment in UK defence industry 
 
Published Jan 03, 2017 
 
Bill Etheridge, UKIP Defence spokesman, believes the slide in the value of the pound is just the spur needed for the government to boost the UK Defence industry and Buy British. With value of sterling against the dollar down to just $1.22, from a previous level of $1.51, Mr Etheridge believes this gives the UK based producers a clear advantage. 
 
Robert Fox, someone so committed to the Remain campaign that he was signing a petition for a re-run of the Referendum a mere two days after the country had voted in June last year, has written in today’s edition of the London Standard that present contracts to buy fighters, helicopters and the Trident missile system have now reached an eye-watering £200m. Doubts about Boeing’s F-35 fighter have thrown the plans to equip Britain’s new aircraft carriers into disarray. 
 
Mr Etheridge, the UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, said “There has always been a strategic argument for self-sufficiency as regards our Defence industry. No clearer example can be found that the case of the new HMS Queen Elizabeth and the HMS Prince of Wales where we have not got the capacity to make the aircraft to equip our own ships. 
 
“What has changed is that we now have a situation where the economic argument is there too. 
 
“Huge investment schemes involving US aircraft no longer have the benefit of being cheaper than UK produced alternatives. 
 
“If we invest in and purchase products made here, this will attract more investment, which will in turn bring jobs, drive down production costs and see the UK exporting more too. 
 
“Factor in the need to increase spending on our armed forces to make up for years of neglect, and we are faced with a fantastic opportunity which the government needs to grasp.” 
 
 
 
 
 
Renewed call for reduction in sin taxes from UKIP MEP Etheridge. 
 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 
 
 
 
Taxes on alcohol, tobacco and cars are costing the Treasury money, said Bill Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands. 
 
The campaigning MEP has long called for a reduction in the taxation on alcohol in an effort to save the Great British pub, but has now been joined by the Taxpayers Alliance. 
 
John O’Connell, their Chief Executive recently said “Our ludicrously complicated, punitive tax system not only hits hard-pressed families with crippling bills but also affects frontline services by depriving the Treasury of revenue lost to the black market.” 
 
The Taxpayers Alliance analysis estimates that taxes on alcohol and tobacco have cost the Treasury more than £31 billion. 
 
 
Mr Etheridge, also a Sedgley councillor, said “By their very nature these taxes hit the poorest in so-ciety the hardest. 
 
“A relatively modest cut would make life easier for millions of families, whilst making smuggling less beneficial. 
 
“The deterrent to those selling dodgy tobacco and alcohol not only means less dangerous products on the streets, but will also lead to a growth in the UK economy as less goods are smuggled in. 
 
“All in all it’s a win-win situation for all concerned. One can only hope the Chancellor recognises this when it comes to his Autumn Statement.” 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
 
 
 
For further information please call Martin Day, Accredited Parliamentary Aide to Bill Etheridge MEP, on +32 22 84 74 53 or 07913 599697. 
 
UKIP Leadership hopeful calls for urgent review on pub conversions 
 
 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, August 29th, 2016 
 
 
 
Bill Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, has followed up his call for drastic cuts on the price of beer with a cry for an urgent review on the development of profitable pubs. 
 
His cry comes as yet another local pub, the Summer House in Woodsetton, faces demolition to make way for a convenience store. 
 
Having been refused planning permission by Dudley Council, the developers, New River Retail, took the appeal to the planning inspectorate in Bristol and got the decision overturned. 
 
In a charity fun day yesterday, Sunday 28th, regular drinkers and their families turned up in their numbers to show support for the beleaguered boozer. 
 
Over £70 was raised by a car wash before rain stopped the endeavours of the regulars, whilst not dampening their spirits. They have vowed to try again. 
 
Cllr Dean Perks, who spoke up for the customers of the Summer House at the original planning hearing, said “The amount of people here today shows that this pub is sustainable and has been for the last eighteen months 
 
“There’s a great family atmosphere here as shown by pictures taken through the day.” 
 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a councillor for Sedgley, said “Time and again, people from out of our area are making decisions on what is best for the residents. 
 
“Power really does need to be returned to local people. Who better to know the troubles of traffic than those who live in the area? 
 
On a larger scale, this government have repeatedly failed the licensed trade. We have enough con-venience stores. Our pubs need protection.” 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
 
 
 
For further information please call Martin Day, Accredited Parliamentary Aide to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07913 599697. 
Alien species ban leads MEP to call for Britain to leave EU captivity 
 
Issue date: Thursday, August 18 2016 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has attacked the EU beast today after hit list on “invasive alien species” came into force that could eventually lead to a host popular animals disappearing from zoos. 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, who is campaigning to become the next leader of UKIP, fears EU interference, which has already seen 37 species being placed on a blacklist, could go too far and see many animals disappear from zoo collections. 
 
The MEP, whose home West Midlands constituency has a number of zoos including Dudley Zoo, said, although he understood pests such as water weed needed to be tackled, he was deeply concerned that EU would overreach itself and impose an unnecessary and draconian ban on countless species. 
 
The Invasive Animal Species’ (IAS) regulations stipulate failure to comply with the rules could result in the prosecution, in the EU’s top court, of those found breaching the legislation. 
 
Member states would be able to take “appropriate measures,” whether lethal or non-lethal, to tackle “invasive species.” 
 
The IAS rules state that zoos will gradually need to phase out listed species such as the racoon. 
 
Zoos would be able to keep the animals until the end of their natural life “provided that reproduction and escape are prevented “- the rules say. 
 
Mr Etheridge said: “I am deeply concerned this initial EU hit list of 37 species, which came into force earlier this month, could increase exponentially. 
 
“I totally understand that there is a need to manage the grey squirrel population but I fear more and more species will be added to the hit list as the EU beast always uses a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. 
 
“What is the danger of a securely kept zoo animal to the wider world? It is time for Britain to make its own laws and legislation and leave EU captivity.” 
 
Ends 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Accredited Parliamentary Assistant to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941. 
Campaign to be launched to make June 23 annual ‘Independence Day’ Bank Holiday 
 
Issue Date: Wednesday, June 29 2016 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is launching a campaign for June 23 to be made an annual bank holiday. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge believes June 23 should become an annual Independence Day holiday boasting Brexit bashes and colourful community events. 
 
June 23rd’s historic referendum saw 52 per cent of voters back leaving in the EU. The strongest support in the country for Brexit came from the West Midlands where just under 60 per cent of voters opted for leaving the European Union. 
 
Commenting today UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge said the result was a victory for the people, a victory for freedom and a victory for democracy. 
 
“June 23 was a historic day for the UK. What I truly believe, in the coming months and years, that we will witness a rebirth of Britain that will reach out and trade with the world. 
 
“Hope has triumphed over fear. It was a victory for the people, democracy and freedom. The people believe in Britain. 
 
“June 23 was a momentous day in our history. Our country, once we fully escape the shackles of the EU, will be sovereign once more and to celebrate that I believe June 23 should be an annual Independence Day bank holiday.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Head of Media to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941. 
Major coach tour to crusade for Brexit 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, June 14 2016 
 
A major coach tour, crusading for Britain to leave the European Union, is to travel parts of Wales, the North and the West Midlands to ensure voters are on the road to Brexit. 
 
UKIP’s vivid 45ft long ‘Project Fact’ coach is to take to the road on Thursday from Newport in Wales and will then travel to Monmouth, parts of the north and the West Midlands to as part of the drive urging people to vote for Brexit on June 23. 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall MEP and fellow Party activists will take part in the grand tour which will stop off at a host of locations. 
 
From Wales the coach will travel to a host of towns and cities across the North and the West Midlands including Birmingham, Dudley, Walsall, Sutton Coldfield, Stourbridge and Wolverhampton. 
 
In the North areas such as Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale and Liverpool will also be visited by the coach in a effort to call on people to vote for leave and make June 23 UK Independence Day. 
 
The tour will take place from this Thursday until June 22. 
 
UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “I am very much looking forward to this tour. This is about taking Project Fact out into towns and cities. 
 
“It is time to regain our sovereignty, our democracy and our freedom by voting to leave the shackles of the dictatorial and unaccountable EU.” 
 
UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall MEP, said: “This tour will send out a bold and strong message to Project Fear and the remain camp – that the wheels are coming off their faltering campaign. 
 
“I call on people to get onboard the Brexit campaign and in turn ensure Britain is once again an independent nation.” 
 
ENDS  
 
For further information call Craig Winyard, Head of Media to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 
Major EU referendum debate to take place in Stourbridge 
 
Issue Date: Monday, June 13 2016 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is set to take on Tory MP Anna Soubry in an EU referendum debate in Stourbridge later this week. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge will be pushing the case for Brexit during what promises to be a frank and robust debate over Britain’s membership of the European Union. 
 
The debate, which is open to the public, takes place at King Edwards VI College, in Stourbridge, on Friday, June 17, from 10am until 11am. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend. 
 
Commenting today Mr Etheridge, who is a member of the EU’s Regional Development Committee and is also a Dudley Borough councillor, said the debate with provide an excellent opportunity for the public to have their say on the EU referendum. 
 
Mr Etheridge said: “I am very much looking forward to this debate with Anna Soubry. I believe it will see Project Fear take on Project Fact. 
 
“Europhile Tories have done everything they can to scare the public into staying in the EU while UKIP has been promoting the positive case for Britain leaving the EU. 
 
“Project Fear is terrified as it is seeing its support melt away as people see through their disingenuous messages of doom and gloom. I believe Britain would boom outside of the EU as we would be free to trade as we would be able, outside the shackles of the EU, to set up our own Free Trade Agreements. 
 
“I urge people to come to Friday’s public meeting in Stourbridge. Let’s make June 23 UK Independence Day by voting to pull out of the European Union.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Head of Media to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941. 
EU Star Wars 
 
ISSUE DATE: Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge spoke in the Plenary Session in Strasbourg yesterday and praised the developing UK space programme. 
 
The benefits from the research and development, using our technological base, could be huge to the UK population, adding that eventually profits would follow. 
 
He did, however, share his concerns that the EU was pressing ahead with a space policy of its own, particularly when it falls under a defence remit, to a certain degree. 
 
He questioned whether this was what the EU was really designed for, having been originally sold as a free trade area, yet now the ambitions were to enter space, with defence ideas about Star Wars. 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a Sedgley councillor, said “Are the ambitions in this chamber so great that this continent is not enough, maybe the world is not enough, maybe it needs to go into space. 
 
"Fortunately, on the 23rd of June, we have the opportunity for Darth Juncker’s death star to be finished off by Nigel Skywalker and the rebel alliance 
 
“I will be doing my very best to ensure that UK space technology is dealt with in the UK.” 
 
ENDS 
“Out of darkness cometh light” public meeting to put Wolverhampton in the spotlight 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, June 7 2016 
 
Wolverhampton-born MEP Bill Etheridge is to say “out of darkness cometh light” during a public meeting in the City. 
 
UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is to speak about how EU membership has negatively impacted on Wolverhampton, the decline of traditional industries in the Black Country and issues such as homelessness and the “financial mess” that the City Council is in. 
 
The “out of darkness cometh light” public meeting will be held at the Electric Club, in St Mark’s Road, Wolverhampton on Monday, June 13 from 7pm. Admission is free. 
 
Fellow West Midlands MEP James Carver and City Councillor and former Mayor Malcolm Gwinnett will also be speaking at the event. 
 
Bill Etheridge said: “I was born in Wolverhampton 46 years ago and during that time I have seen the decline of this proud City. 
 
“I have seen the negative effects that EU membership has had on Wolverhampton. We see a City Council in a mess financially; we see homelessness and the decline of traditional industries. It is only through leaving the EU that we can regain control over this country's borders. Open door, uncontrolled mass immigration affects council house and doctors surgeries waiting lists. 
 
“But, I believe very much in the motto out of darkness cometh light and that by leaving the EU we can bring light and hope to the people of Wolverhampton. 
 
“I am proud to have been born in Wolverhampton and I want to see it reborn through leaving the tentacles of the interfering EU." 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Head of Media to Bill Etheridge MEP, 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
EU threat to zoos attacked 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, June 7 2016 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has accused meddling Eurocrats of attempting to make a monkey out of zoos by looking at banning a host of popular animals from collections. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, who is also a Dudley Borough Councillor, has launched a stinging attack on interfering bureaucrats in the European Commission for looking at bans on so-called “invasive” species. 
 
Animals, such as raccoons and chipmunks, could disappear from zoos for good amid concerns they could escape. 
 
Fears have been expressed the move could lead to court action being taken by the EU against those breaching the rules and that commercial keepers may, after keeping a banned animal for two years, may be forced to have them put to sleep or give them over to conservation projects or for medical research. 
 
Cllr Bill Etheridge MEP said he is deeply concerned by the rules as he has a number of popular zoos in his West Midlands’ constituency including Dudley Zoo. 
 
He said: “Clearly zoos have a responsibility to ensure the security of their sites, their animals and also visitors but I fear, once again, the EU looks to be on the verge of going way over the top again by looking at introducing such draconian rules. 
 
“It is the same old EU and I find it appalling that animals may have to be put to sleep as a result of this interference by the European Union. It will also potentially impact on visitor numbers and therefore their income.” 
 
Ends 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Head of Media to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
Ever Closer Union 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, June 7, 2016 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge spoke in the Plenary Session in Strasbourg last night and told how so many areas of development policy were the focus of closer cohesion. 
 
His arrival was delayed, ironically caused by industrial action in France against workers’ rights being eroded by EU policy. 
 
The Black Country based MEP said he’d just been at a debate in the UK, where one of the subjects under discussion was whether the UK was subject to “ever closer union”. 
 
The UKIP MEP vowed to keep looking at what the Prime Minister, David Cameron, was saying and determined to read between the lines at what he really meant. 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a Sedgley councillor, said "When you have policies for coherence of development within the EU, it is quite clear that this is one of the many areas where, despite the words of Mr Cameron and his crew of EU fanatics, if you are in the EU, then of course you are going to be subject to closer cohesion on a whole range of policies. 
 
“Whether the words are said or not, it doesn’t matter - you are subject to it. 
 
"There are so many things that Mr Cameron says, I will be warning people that when he says one thing, he actually means another.” 
 
ENDS 
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Battle Bus to visit Dudley 
 
Issue Date: Monday, May 23 2016 
 
UKIP Leader Nigel Farage will be calling for Britain’s Great Escape from the EU when the purple party’s Brexit battle bus stops off in Dudley tomorrow (Tuesday, May 24th). 
 
Nigel Farage MEP and his open top battle bus will be visiting Dudley town centre to promote the positive case for Britain to leave the European Union. 
 
The Brexit Battle Bus will be piping out the theme from The Great Escape when it visits Dudley’s bustling Market Place, near the fountain from 10.30am. 
 
His visit follows the hugely successful launch of the tour outside the Commission building in London last week. 
 
Nigel Farage will be joined in Dudley town centre by fellow UKIP activists from across the region. 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, UKIP West Midlands Press, on 07881 660941. 
Who is the Joker? 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, May 24th, 2016 
 
There will be big questions answered on the subjects of Human Rights and press freedom later today (Tuesday May 24th) as Turkish journalist Onur Erem stands trial on the grounds of insulting the prime minister of the Turkish state. 
 
During the course of an interview in November 2015 with British writer Tariq Ali, it was said that Prime Minister Davutoglou and his interior minister had made statements that were incoherent rubbish and Mr Erem said he was “amazed that these two jokers are still in the government”. 
 
Next month will see a second trial for highlighting the fact that Google autocomplete linked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling AKP party to the words “thief and murderer”. 
 
Prosecutors are demanding a prison sentence of 7.5 years for the “offences”. As of April this year, there were 35 known journalists in Turkish jails. 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP is appalled by the lack of free speech, saying “Imagine if everyone who called David Cameron a joker was locked up in the UK. The prisons would be overflowing. 
 
“In a true democracy, freedom of speech is an essential right. To deny it is to lurch towards dictatorship. 
 
“Yet it seems Mr Cameron is still keen to allow Turkey to join the EU. Now that really IS a joke.” 
 
ENDS 
 
 
 
Fear of Garden City erasing local town identities as details emerge. 
 
ISSUE DATE: Friday, May 20th 2016 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge hailed the pride of the Black Country people as more details emerged of the new Garden City. 
 
Never before has a Garden City been built to bring together existing towns into one conurbation. Thirty one urban areas, from Aldridge to West Bromwich, will combine to form the City. 
 
Figures announced by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership show the region as the fastest growing in the UK. With annual growth reaching 4.3%, 2015 also saw record levels of private sector investment coming into the region. 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a Sedgley councillor, said "It is the local spirit and identity that is behind this fight back. 
 
"I don't want to see all the work undone by a loss of identity as towns and villages are merged together into one seamless conurbation. 
 
"The last thing anyone should do to a Black Country man is to take away his pride." 
 
ENDS 
Sedgley Councillor drops in for a wash and brush up in aid of a worthy cause 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, May 16 2016 
 
Sedgley ward Councillor and UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge dropped into a local school to support a worthy cause. 
 
The MEP paid a special visit to the Queen Victoria School in Sedgley, to help support a fundraising car wash where youngsters cleaned cars to raise money towards the cost of an end of school year trip for Year 6 pupils. 
 
Bill’s car received a much needed clean last Saturday during the event which took place on the school’s playground. 
 
Cleaning equipment was donated by Halford’s in Bilston and a tremendous £250 was raised through the efforts of children, teachers and parents. 
 
Karen Jones, Chairman of the Sedgley Parents Group, said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported the car wash. Everyone had a lot of fun on the day and I am pleased that such a large sum was raised. 
 
“The next fundraiser at the school will be a summer fayre which will be held on July 2nd, said Karen. 
 
Cllr Bill Etheridge, added: “I was really pleased to have been invited to the car wash at Queen Victoria School in Bilston Street. 
 
The weather was kind on the day and I was very impressed by the hard work put in by all at the event.” 
 
To make a donation towards the fundraising effort please call 01902 664670 or pop into Bill's MEP Office in High Holborn, Sedgley (DY3 1SR). 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Head of Media to Bill Etheridge MEP, 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
EU Parliament fail to show “urgency” in steel crisis. 
 
ISSUE DATE: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge was furious as the chance to debate the crisis in the steel industry was missed in Brussels today. 
 
Prior to a plenary session this afternoon, agreement had been reached across some of the major groups in the Parliament that there was a need to discuss whether measures could be taken to protect the steel industry throughout Europe from the effects of cheap Chinese steel dumping. 
 
The EFDD, including UKIP, wanted to discuss it but the parliament chose to stall and delay for several weeks. 
 
Mr Etheridge, who himself spent twenty years in the steel industry, said “The crisis is now, not in the future. 
 
“Steel workers throughout Europe are losing their jobs in their thousands. Hundreds of thousands are threatened across Europe. 
 
“Action needs to be taken now to protect our jobs before the whole industry collapses. Already we are seeing credit insurers pulling out of the steel industry. 
 
“If the line of credit disappears we have a disaster on our hands. The UK government should act unilaterally. This is an industry of strategic importance and essential for the UK economy. 
 
“We cannot let the indifference and sloth of the Liberals cost any more jobs in this country.” 
 
ENDS 
UKIP Deputy Leader hits the Black Country to support PCC campaign 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, April 19th 2016 
 
UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall paid a special visit to the Black Country yesterday to put his full support behind the purple party’s Police & Crime Commissioner campaign in the West Midlands Police force area. 
 
The MEP stopped off in Sedgley to back Pete Durnell's drive to win the Police & Crime Commissioner elections which are held on May 5th. 
 
Mr Nuttall said: “I very much welcome the selection of Pete Durnell as UKIP’s candidate for the Police & Crime Commissioner election in the West Midlands Police force area. 
 
“I believe that a zero tolerance approach should be taken on crime and I believe that low level crime should be tackled as it can be a gateway to some serious crimes. 
 
“More and more real bobbies should be seen on the beat and bureaucracy should be reduced in the police force.” 
 
Pete Durnell, who is Chairman of the UKIP Sandwell Branch, said: “It was great to see Paul and to have his support behind my campaign. 
 
"I very much believe in community policing, and that police, council and voluntary groups should be working together in a much more coordinated manner. 
 
"I am particularly concerned about recent significant increases in gang related gun crime and in violent crime in general. 
 
"A recent National Crime Survey also showed that Sexual Offences rocketed by 24% in the year to June 2015 in the West Midlands, this situation simply can not be allowed to continue". 
 
ENDS 
West Midlands MEP highlights threat to NHS. 
 
ISSUE DATE: Thursday, February 25 2016 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has warned of the dangers of the proposed TTIP deal, the trans-Atlantic free trade deal between the EU and the United States of America. 
 
He drew attention to the Michael Bowsher QC, a renowned expert in EU law and former chairman of the EU law committee of the Bar Council of England & Wales. 
 
The advice from the QC confirms clearly the risks that the EU Trade deal TTIP poses to the NHS and to the sovereignty of Parliament relating to health policy. The UK government has refused on a number of occasions to show the public the legal advice they obtained regarding the threat that the Deal poses to our NHS. 
 
The union Unite has submitted Freedom of Information requests on this issue that have so far been refused. It would seem we now know why. 
 
Mr Bowsher's report concluded that “TTIP will give US investors more powers to sue the British Government, potentially for more money, than current UK and EU law or NHS contracts” 
 
Mr Etheridge, a former governor of Russells Hall Hospital, said passionately “This deal is the greatest threat to the NHS in its history. 
 
“The NHS needs an exemption from this deal. Without such a reservation TTIP will pose a real and serious risk to the future ability of UK Government to regulate the NHS. 
 
“It puts the US private health industry in a position the override the UK Parliament on matters concerning our own health service. 
 
“The government keep telling us there is nothing to worry about but are unable to back it up with any credible evidence. 
 
“The US private health industry should have no place in our NHS." 
 
ENDS 
West Midlands MEP heralds the opportunities from trade with the Commonwealth. 
 
ISSUE DATE: Thursday, February 25 2016 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has heralded the recent speech by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters as evidence that Britain can thrive outside the EU. 
 
Mr Peters said in a recent speech that “British exit from the EU could offer such an opportunity and could "heal a rift" with New Zealand that occurred when Britain became a member of European Economic Community in 1973”. 
 
Speaking to an agricultural conference in Auckland today, Mr Peters backed an exit by Britain "Brexit" of the European Union - to be put to a referendum on June 23 - saying Norway had shown that Britain could flourish outside the EU. 
 
He also said it could become a model for a high quality future agreement not just with Britain but Canada, South Africa and India. 
 
He said the pursuit of a free trade deal with Europe was "a fiction" because Europe still had farm subsidies. 
 
Mr Etheridge, also a Sedgley councillor, said “Britain shamefully neglected the Commonwealth after we joined the Common Market. 
 
“The chance is there to resume the trade we abandoned in a trading group where growth is at a staggering 7.2%, with predictions for that to remain constant for the next five years. 
 
“Restrictions and regulations in the EU have caused stagnation of the members' economies and there are no signs of that changing. 
 
“Britain needs to look to trade with the world, not just one fading group of nations who are drowning in a sea of red tape.” 
 
ENDS 
Sedgley councillor calls for “bloated” middle management cull 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 
 
Sedgley councillor Bill Etheridge has called for a cull in the “bloated” level of middle management within Dudley Council. 
 
He argues that cuts to front line services are merely a political statement by the ruling Labour group in order to blame central government. 
 
Cllr Etheridge revealed he had figures from a Freedom of Information request which showed that, excluding schools, Dudley Council had no fewer than 99 staff on the payroll earning in excess of £50k per annum. Ten of those exceeded £75k, including the Chief Executive on a believed £165k. 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, added “It’s time the council took another look at the way these cuts are being achieved. 
 
“Saving £200,000 by slashing the hours libraries are open pales into insignificance when you consider the potential savings on wages. 
 
“This bloated middle management level costs us in excess of £4.4 million, possibly as much as £6.6 million, with upper management costing around a million more. 
 
“The wage bill on this Labour gravy train is akin to the corporate fat cats that they are so quick to criticise. 
 
“I see the vast majority of managerial jobs advertised for £30k or lower and wonder how the council got into the situation whereby so many staff earn in excess of £1,000 per week?” 
 
Cllr Etheridge has previously criticised other front line cuts, with reduced hours at the newly built Archives, the museum closure and the cessation of counter service at the Castle & Crystal Credit Union amongst them. 
 
He added “This Labour administration seems determined to wreck Dudley’s facilities, yet it can find £1.1m to fill in the flower beds on Coronation gardens and add to the electricity bill. Senseless!” 
 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Martin Day, Office Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07913 599697. 
Action demanded over Beacon Estate trees 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, February 1, 2016 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has launched a major campaign to cut back immensely overgrown trees which residents on a Sedgley estate claim are dangerous and are limiting lighting into their homes. 
 
UKIP Sedgley ward councillor Bill Etheridge has received more than 30 complaints from residents on the Beacon estate after writing to them to gauge their views on the general maintenance of the trees. 
 
In his letter, Cllr Etheridge called on residents to report their views on the trees and dozens responded to report a number of concerns including sap on cars, damage to drains and mess on pavements caused by pine needles. 
 
Commenting today, Mr Etheridge said it was clear that the wrong type of trees were planted in the first place and sadly the trees were also being sadly maintained. 
 
Cllr Etheridge, said: “I have received more than 30 complaints from residents on the Beacon estate who clearly want to see action being taken to resolve ongoing problems associated with these trees including limiting light into properties, particularly with some trees when they are in full leaf. 
 
“Further problems that have been reported to me include driveways being covered by twigs, and one resident said they wanted to install solar panels onto their roof but was unlikely to be in a position to do so due to shadow from trees. 
 
“It is clear, from the huge response to my letters to residents, that there is a m ajor issue that needs to be tackled here. People should come before trees and I urge Dudley Council to take action and respond to the concerns of local people on the estate.” 
 
Paul Howell, who lives on The Quadrant, said: “There is a very large tree that towers over our property. In the past it has damaged the fence and we have also had roots come up into our drive. It has also moved the concrete fence posts and gravel boards. 
 
“We have no choice and have to park the car and van underneath it – we then have to deal with all the pigeon mess.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Head of Media to West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, on 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
Sedgley councillor calls for tourist attraction to be maximised 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, February 1 2016 
 
Bill Etheridge has called for changes in the way Brockswood, formerly Cotwall End Animal Sanctuary is operated. What used to be a very good attraction, bringing tourists to the area is now closed for six months of the year. 
 
Cllr Etheridge revealed he had contact from local constituents who want to see the sanctuary restored to its former glory. He has also had a number of potential investors approach him who want to be updated on the current situation. 
 
Shaun Keasey, UKIP’s representative for the Sedgley ward, takes up the story, “I first moved to Cotwall End at the age of 11 and the animal sanctuary was not only a fantastic free family day out with a wide range of animals, it hosted annual Summer Fun Days and Christmas events which attracted people to the area from and beyond the Dudley Borough. 
 
“I find it unbelievable that Dudley Council has allowed such a precious local facility to descend to its current sorry state. 
 
“I visited with my mom and young nephews last summer to be greeted with an overgrown, half closed eyesore. There were rats running around in cages that I am sure were meant for other animals! 
 
“Council representatives should immediately start work with the current tenants to restore Cotwall End to its former glory. 
 
“I am sure many other Sedgley residents would join me in helping. However, if the current management cannot achieve this they should make way for other that can!" 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, added “It’s time the council took control of the situation. 
 
“If, under the terms of the tenancy contract, they have no control over the way it is run, then they should be ashamed. 
 
“To my mind, either the sanctuary should be forced to restore the place, or a new tenant should be sought with a vision to maximise a great opportunity." 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Martin Day, Office Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07913 599697. 
Phone call confirms young girl's life set to be transformed through operation 
 
ISSUE DATE: Friday, January 29 2016 
 
The life of a young girl, who suffers with a form of cerebral palsy, is set to be transformed following a phone call that came like a shot out of the blue this week. 
 
Georgie Gibbs, who has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, is to receive a life-changing operation, following a concerted campaign by her mum. 
 
The girl's mum, Clare Gibbs, who lives in Worcester, says she is “over the moon” after receiving confirmation from the NHS on Wednesday evening that they will pay for an operation that will help her daughter walk upright and unaided for the first time. 
 
Three-year-old Georgie is scheduled to undergo a selective dorsal rhizotomy operation next month which will make a major difference to the youngster's life. 
 
Due to her condition, Georgie currently has to wear a helmet due to falling regularly as a result of her condition which means her legs have to be supported by splints. 
 
Georgie's family have held a large number of fundraising events, to pay for her treatment in America but this week's phone call finally means the operation will be performed by the NHS. 
 
A wide range of events have taken place to assist the family's campaign, including a night of music (performed by the B's) with food held at The Lodge, in Dudley, last Saturday night which took place last Saturday and was organised by local Dudley UKIP activists Mick Forsyth and Phil Wimlett. 
 
The event, which as attended by West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, raised a whopping £1,200 towards the campaign, but now, following news that the NHS would be performing the operation, all funds, and those raised in the future, will be used to pay for intensive rehabilitation treatment that will be needed by Georgie. 
 
Georgie's mum Clare, said: “I am absolutely over the moon that the NHS will be doing the operation, All funds, and those raised in the future, will be used to pay for a rehabilitation room for Georgie at our home, the equipment that she needs and for any rehabilitation and aftercare that is not going funded by the NHS. 
 
“Further orthopaedic surgery will also be needed which is not being covered by the NHS such as hamstring lengthening. The rehabilitation is going to be hard work and will take around two years but the operation will mean that Georgie will be able to walk without having to wear the helmet. 
 
“The event at The Lodge was absolutely fabulous. We had a lovely evening and my children really enjoyed it." 
 
West Midlands MEP and Dudley Borough Councillor Bill Etheridge, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the NHS will be doing the operation which will transform the lives of Georgie and her lovely family. 
 
“I was honoured to support the event at The Lodge and all the monies raised, and funds through forthcoming events, will be going to support this little girl's recovery.” 
 
To assist Georgie's recovery please log on to https://www.gofundme.com/help-georgie 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Head of Media to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
MEP welcomes rising support for the purple party 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, January 5 2016 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has today welcomed the publication of a major new poll which shows support for UKIP has risen since the General Election. 
 
Sedgley ward Councillor and MEP Bill Etheridge says the ‘People’s Army’ is on the march following the release of new YouGov polling figures which show support for UKIP now stands at 17 per cent. 
 
Commenting today, Mr Etheridge, said the result, which shows the party is up on its performance in the General Election, is a welcome start to 2016 which promises to be an exciting year in national and local politics. 
 
He said: “This year, I believe, will be a game-changer in democracy and politics as we are facing multiple elections at a national and local level. 
 
“May 5th promises to be a defining date as people across the UK will get the opportunity to send a strong message to the failed and tired old establishment parties by voting UKIP. 
 
“It is game on and I will fight tooth and nail to turn the political landscape purple. 
 
UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall said: “It is clear that UKIP is not going away any time soon. 
 
“On May 5 voters in all four corners of the United Kingdom will have the opportunity to vote for UKIP and I have every confidence we can make a strong showing in London, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and in the English local elections as well as the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670. 
Short-Sighted Car Park Policy 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, November 16th, 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has hit out at the news that Dudley Council are considering increases to their car parking charges in the New Year. 
 
Finance chiefs are hoping to bridge a predicted shortfall in revenues of £700,000 over the next three years. Mr Etheridge, who is also a Sedgley Councillor, is running a campaign for free parking in Sedgley due to the minimal benefits to Dudley rate-payers. 
 
Car parking profits for the whole of Dudley Borough fell below £810,000 in the year 2014/15, yet the Borough's towns face stiff competition from Merry Hill. 
 
Cllr Etheridge said “Would it not be better to scrap charges altogether and watch council revenue climb from all the new business rates as trade grows? 
 
“Putting up car parking charges discourages shoppers and that is the wrong way to go about filling the empty shop units that we have all across the area. 
 
“It's yet another short-sighted idea from a from an administration that has no idea how to provide the regeneration needed in Dudley Borough.” 
 
Cllr Etheridge was also dismissive of the news that there would be free parking on the three Saturdays before the festive period. 
 
He added “Car parks should be free all year, not just for Christmas.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Martin Day, Office Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670. 
Concerns raised over “anti-democratic donkey” 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, November 16 2015 
 
Euro MP Bill Etheridge has reiterated his calls for plans to create a West Midlands combined authority to be consigned to the bin amid concerns over the future of policing in the region. 
 
Bill Etheridge, who is a member of the EU’s Regional Development Committee, has today welcomed news that David Jamieson, the West Midlands’ Police & Crime Commissioner, has vowed to block the combined authority deal unless certain assurances are met over local policing. 
 
But, the West Midlands MEP, says he would go a major stage further by calling for the so-called deal to be scrapped altogether. 
 
Commenting today, Bill Etheridge, said: “Policing is a priority as we are talking about the safety of the people. There should be a real, visible deterrent to those thinking of breaking the law. 
 
“I believe that having one person having the power over a raft of services, including policing through the creation of a Metro Mayor, would be bad for democracy and I feel would be too big a challenge for any one person. 
 
“Mr Jamieson quite rightly talks about the ‘responsibility to ensure there is proper governance’ but how can that be achieved through introducing a role that was rejected by the majority of Brummies and through the creation of an anti democratic body that further distances power from the people? 
 
“It was also interesting to hear in Brussels for myself from David Read, from the Department for Communities and Local Government, about how the formation of combined authorities is a way of enabling loans. Loans in the key word here – the funds are clearly loans not grants. Pay today and pay more later. 
 
“This anti-democratic donkey would be fed on loaned carrots that our future generations will have to pay for.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941. 
Stark warning as jobs haemorrhage from Europe’s steel industry 
 
Issue date: Wednesday, November 11 2015 
 
UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has today reacted to a stark warning from the over the plight of Europe’s struggling steel industry which has witnessed the loss of tens of thousands of jobs since 2008. 
 
The UKIP MEP, who spent 20 years working in the steel industry, says it is “horrifying” to hear that, as reported by the European Steel Association (EUROFER), this week, the steel sector, which is being hit by expensive EU red tape, green targets and cheap steel being “dumped” onto the market, has seen the loss of at least 85,000 jobs (more than 20 per cent of its workforce) since 2008. 
 
EUROFER’s President and Vice Presidents have written to the Governments of EU member states warning that “urgent solutions” need to be found to deal with the challenges faced by the steel sector. 
 
Commenting today, Euro MP Bill Etheridge, who is a member of the EU’s Regional Development Committee (REGI), said the case of West Midlands-based Caparo and other steel firms up and down the country, where significant jobs had been lost, demonstrated the need for urgent action to be taken to stop the ongoing “haemorrhaging” of the industry. 
 
Mr Etheridge said: “I worked for 20 years in the Steel industry and am genuinely horrified by the damage being inflicted on our excellent steel manufacturing and stockholding sectors. Jobs are hemorrhaging from the industry at an alarming rate. 
 
“It is apparent from EUROFER’s letter, which is signed by some of the most prominent names in the industry that far from protecting and encouraging the steel industry the EU is actually detrimental to it. 
 
“Nothing has been done to combat dumping from countries with surplus capacity while the European Steel industry is forced to stagger on weighed down by the climate extremism of the political elite. 
 
“The politicians who set these crazy green targets and taxes are unlikely to have ever been anywhere near a steel manufacturing plant let alone got their hands dirty. 
 
“Once again the EU’s promise of a Stainless future for our manufacturing industry has turned to rust,” he added. 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941. 
Birmingham’s car parking income branded ‘obscene’ 
 
Issue date: Tuesday, November 10 2015 
 
Damning new figures that show car parking income exceeded £13 million in Birmingham while just a little over £3.2 million was spent on car parking maintenance by the City Council have been branded “obscene” by West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge. 
 
Figures, obtained by the UKIP Euro MP through a Freedom of Information request, show car parking income through fees and charges in 2014/15 stood at a whopping £13,204,170 while just £3,216,213 in that period was spent on repairs and maintenance. 
 
In 2014/15 £4,300,810 was generated through on-street parking, just over £7.8 million of income came from off-street parking fees and charges and a further £1,027,492 came from charges and fees on district car parks. 
 
These figures came despite Birmingham City Council spending nothing on on-street parking repairs and maintenance, £2,975,467 on off-street parking repairs and maintenance and just over £240,000 on district car park repairs and maintenance. 
 
Commenting on the figures today, West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “These obscene figures show the colossal cost to park in Birmingham. 
 
“I strongly believe the provision of more free parking would bring in more shoppers, businesses, trade and visitors to our towns and cities where vacant units are a common and sad sight on our high streets. 
 
“I would like to ask the users of these car parks if they think they are truly getting value for money.” 
 
Are you are regular car park user in Birmingham? If so, if you have a view, please email info@mepukip.com 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941. 
Morrison’s finally back off from the Seven Stars. 
 
Issue Date: Monday, November 9, 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has hailed the news that Morrisons have backed away from the planned conversion of the popular Seven Stars pub. 
 
Dudley Liquor Licensing department received an email from Gosschalks Solicitors, acting for Morrisons, withdrawing the premise licence application for the proposed Sedgley “M” convenience store. The hearing, scheduled for Tuesday 10th November has duly been cancelled. 
 
Mr Etheridge, said “I am staggered that this situation has happened again. This is the second time they have put in an application and withdrawn it. 
 
“When will they finally come clean and tell everyone that they don't want the pub any more? 
 
He added “They have made life a living hell for the staff, some of whom have left their job fearing for the future of the pub.” 
 
The pub was the venue for a recent visit by Paul Nuttall MEP, UKIP's Deputy Leader and patron of its Save The Pub Campaign. 
 
Mr Nuttall said: “This is wonderful news. I'll raise a glass to that!” 
 
Local UKIP Save The Pubs co-ordinator, Martin Day, invited licensees of other threatened pubs to contact him via Mr Etheridge's website, saying “There are literally hundreds of pubs threatened in this latest threat to the licensed trade, many of which are in our local area. 
 
“Enough pubs have closed already, without converting profitable pubs into unwanted convenience stores.” 
 
Mr Etheridge added, after a seventeen month campaign, “I am delighted that it finally looks like the battle is won. 
 
“This is a warning that if anyone tries to sell this or any other popular pub to supermarkets etc, we will fight them and beat them too!" 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
For further information please call Martin Day, Office Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670. 
Taxpayers' Alliance Criticises Dudley Agency Costs 
 
Issue Date: Monday, November 9, 2015 
 
Sedgley Councillor Bill Etheridge said that Labour's ruling group on Dudley Council should “hang their heads in shame” as Dudley was flagged up by the Taxpayers' Alliance for its excessive use of agency staff. 
 
An article published on their website calls the excessive use of agency staff “quite staggering” whilst noting that “services such as museums and art galleries face the axe.” In the year 2014/15, agency costs were £6.5m. 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a West Midlands UKIP MEP, said “Dudley Council argue that they cannot find the right candidates, but it is clear the right candidates are out there – they are working for the agencies. 
 
He added “The council need to put proper contracts in place and cut out the middle man. 
 
“The figure for the year 2013/14 was even higher, at £6.6m, so it is clear that this is not just a one off situation. 
 
“With the current trend showing savings aimed at cutting front line services,to the detriment of local residents, the council should hang their heads in shame.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Martin Day, Office Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 
Dismay over steelworkers' job losses 
 
Issue Date: Saturday, October 31 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has today said he is dismayed following devastating news that hundreds of jobs are to go at steel plants across the region. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, who spent 20 years in the steel industry, says the Government’s failure to stand up for Britain, which is being smothered by EU climate change legislation, green levies, cheap steel from China being ‘dumped’ onto the market and high energy costs, is destroying the nation’s steel industry. 
 
Steel firm Caparo, which is now in administration, has announced that it is to axe more than 450 jobs from its plants across the UK – including more than 300 of those job losses coming from the West Midlands. 
 
Commenting today, UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, who is a member of the EU’s Regional Development Committee, said: “Our British steel industry is under major threat from a number of factors that are sadly making it anti-competitive. 
 
“Under the EU 2020 agenda taxes to combat carbon emissions have been levied on heavy industry, with additional costs forced on UK based manufacturers courtesy of George Osborne. The result is that heavy industry in the UK struggles to survive. 
 
“On top of that the cost of steel, thanks to China dumping cheap steal onto the market, continues to go through the floor. 
 
“Then to add insult to injury the British Government signs a major multi-billion pound defence contract with Sweden to provide steel for ships and armoured vehicles. 
 
“Only by leaving the EU can we trade with the world unshackled by EU legislation that makes us anti-competitive. Our Government is failing Britain and its steel industry.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941. 
 
MEP blasts £6.5m agency staff cost as plans are announced to axe museum and art gallery 
 
Issue Date: Thursday, October 29 2015 
 
Cash-strapped Dudley Council, who this week announced plans to axe the town's art gallery and museum, spent more than £6.5m on agency staff (excluding schools), newly obtained figures reveal. 
 
Dudley's Museum and Art Gallery is set to be close, despite thousands of people backing retaining the facilities. 
 
But, commenting this week, West Midlands MEP and Dudley Borough Councillor Bill Etheridge, said the authority was clearly guilty of poor planning and needs to shift its priorities, after figures obtained by Cllr Etheridge, through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, showed the council spent just over £6.5m on agency staff (excluding schools) in 2014/15. 
 
Although there was a slight decrease in the cost of agency staff (excluding schools) – from just over £6.6m in 2013/14 to just over £6.5m in 2014/15, Cllr Etheridge said the fact that the authority was still spending millions of pounds a year on agency staff was a demonstration of the council’s poor planning. 
 
Commenting today on the figures, UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “The fact that Dudley Council is spending millions on temporary and agency staff, when it has announced plans to close the Museum and Art Gallery, shows poor planning and recruitment policies on their part. 
 
“It is clear the whole issue of councils, and their staff recruitment policies, need to be reviewed to ensure best value for taxpayers who are witnessing savage cuts to their services.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670. 
Early Christmas bash to send yuletide message to corporate “grinches”. 
 
ISSUE DATE: Friday, October 2 2015 
 
Christmas is to come early to a closure-threatened Black Country pub to send out an early yuletide message to “grinches” who want to close the local for good. 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is a throw an early Christmas bash at the Seven Stars Pub in Sedgley later this month to ensure locals have a festive celebration and show “supermarket scrooges” at Morrisons that they will not take Christmas from the popular public house. 
 
The Seven Stars pub, in Gospel End Road, is facing closure, and being replaced by a Morrisons convenience store, despite a concerted campaign led by residents, customers and local Sedgley Councillor Bill Etheridge. 
 
At a packed public meeting, held at the pub last night, (Thursday), UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge and pub regulars, agreed to throw an early Christmas bash on October 22nd, from 6.30pm. 
 
Cllr Etheridge said: “Last year Morrisons’ Christmas advertising slogan was ‘Morrisons – Make Christmas Special’ but these scrooges could steal Christmas from the Seven Stars through the pub’s planned closure. 
 
“Well we will have a yuletide celebration at the Seven Stars – albeit an early one – and I promise Morrisons that it will be truly a ‘special’ evening for the whole community. 
 
“These supermarket scrooges should hang their heads in shame and indeed need show some Christmas spirit by ditched their supermarket plans for the site for good. 
 
“I urge as many people as possible to come along on October 22nd and in turn say bah humbug to Morrisons.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941. 
Labour’s lurch to left danger to Britain and British politics 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, September 15 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge fears Corbyn’s hard-left Marxist Labour Party could plunge British politics, and the country, into turmoil. 
 
The UKIP MEP says he is deeply concerned by Labour’s lurch to the left which has seen the Party’s new Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, appoint a new Shadow Chancellor who praised the “bombs and bullets” of IRA. 
 
Bill Etheridge said the announcement that John McDonnell MP would be Shadow Chancellor, was a worrying sign that Labour was descending into Party that hates Britain. 
 
Mr Etheridge said the decision to hand the party’s economic policy to Mr McDonnell, was a clear and worrying demonstration that Labour is the party of terrorist appeasement. 
 
Commenting about the IRA in 2003, Mr McDonnell, said: “It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. 
 
“It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table.” 
 
Furthermore, in 2010, Mr McDonnell said he would like to “go back to the 1980s and assassinate Thatcher”. 
 
Commenting today, UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “I am deeply concerned by Labour’s lurch to the loony left and Corbyn’s appointment of Mr McDonnell in light of the views he has expressed in the past. 
 
“Indeed Corbyn, in the past, once introduced members of Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”. 
 
“Labour is in danger of becoming a party of terrorist appeasement and a party that hates Britain. 
 
“The selection of Corbyn will consign Labour to electoral oblivion for years and years to come. UKIP is the only party that is not of the left nor the right – it is a party that stands up for what is right.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670 
Warwickshire’s hammer blow decision shows architects behind combined authority that plans on rocky foundations – say MEPs 
 
ISSUE DATE: Friday, September 4th 2015 
 
Hammer blow news that Warwickshire county Councillors have rejected moves to join the proposed West Midlands Combined Authority has today been branded a nail in the coffin for the anti-democratic scheme. 
 
West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge say the decision by Warwickshire Country Council is a major setback for the architects of the plans to create a “super authority”. 
 
Bosses at the County Council expressed fears that joining the West Midlands Combined Authority would reduce accountability and power of decision-making. 
 
UKIP MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge today welcomed the decision and urged people to take part in the consultation into the Combined Authority scheme which runs September. 
 
Mr Carver said: “The whole thing is a complete debacle and the architects of this scheme must now see that the whole venture is on rocky foundations. 
 
“The proposed Combined Authority would be a retrograde step for local democracy which is already too far removed from local people thanks to the Cabinet-style system of decision making in local councils.” 
 
Mr Etheridge, said: “I very much welcome Warwickshire’s strong stand on this. Their decision is a victory for local democracy and the taxpayers’ they represent. 
 
“When are advocates of this anti-democratic power grab, such as Cllr Darren Cooper going to realise that their vanity project is deeply unpopular with local people who want to preserve the unique identities of their communities? 
 
“It is a Labour-stitch up that is being aided and abetted by the Tories. It is high time that they listened to local people who are deeply concerned by this regionalisation push.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to James Carver MEP and Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941. 
Survey prompts calls for 20mph speed limit and double yellow lines to combat speeding and congestion on Sedgley road 
 
Issue Date: Wednesday, September 2 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP and Sedgley ward Councillor Bill Etheridge is supporting residents’ calls for double yellow lines and a 20mph speed limit to be applied to a congestion and parking problem plagued road near to a local school. 
 
The UKIP MEP distributed surveys to residents along Catholic Lane to gauge their views on how best to tackle speeding and parking problems near to St Chad’s Primary School. 
 
Around 15 responses, which included detailed letters from residents, were handed in to Bill Etheridge’s office, in High Holborn, which showed support for yellow lines to be operation in Catholic Lane along with a 20mph speed limit. 
 
Feedback from residents showed problems included parking on both sides of Catholic Lane which made it difficult for through traffic to meneavour down the road, parked vehicles blocking driveways and speeding traffic. 
 
Commenting on the results of the survey, UKIP Councillor Bill Etheridge, said: “There was a tremendous response to the Catholic Lane Parking Campaign survey and I would like to say a massive thank you to residents for providing their very valuable feedback. 
 
“In response to this feedback my office has contacted Dudley Council regarding introducing double yellow lines and also the implementation of a 20mph speed limit along Catholic Lane. 
 
“Parking on pavements is a major issue as is the blocking of residents’ driveways. One response went so far as to say that street parking was making it a complete nightmare to live on Catholic Lane. 
 
“It is clear that action is needed to tackle these ongoing problems and I call on Dudley Council to listen and act on the wishes of residents.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670 
Backdoor cuts to special needs children’s school transport. 
 
Issue Date: Friday, August 21st, 2015 
 
Sedgley Councillor Bill Etheridge has questioned why children with special educational needs in the Borough are still being refused transport to school, despite the climb down by the ruling Labour group over plans to scrap the service. 
 
Mum Shelly Davies, of Laurel Rd, Dudley, and her disabled son Tony, aged 11, were devastated to hear that their initial request for transport for Tony, as he started at the Sutton School in Scotts Green Close, was turned down. 
 
Without the special transport, it would have seen the young mother trying to deliver her two sons to schools in different parts of the borough at the same time. 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a West Midlands MEP, said “Something needed to be done about this situation. The route of the school bus actually passed this family’s house. 
 
“How could it be saving money when there is another child, attending the same school, who is picked up from the same spot?” 
 
With the help of Mr Etheridge and his office, an appeal was submitted and the original refusal has been overturned – but only for 12 months. 
 
Ms Davies said “Parents of disabled children face obstacles like this every day. 
 
“The Council should be making things easier for them, not placing further obstacles in front of them every day. 
 
“If they refuse it again in twelve months, I will fight them again. I am my son’s voice and I will always be a huge force to be reckoned with when it comes to him.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Martin Day, Office Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07913 599697. 
Protest staged to stop last orders being called on popular pub 
 
Issue Date: Friday, August 14 2015 
 
Dozens of campaigners descended on Marston’s Brewery to campaign against plans to turn their local community pub into a convenience store. 
 
Save the Seven Stars pub campaigners travelled to the brewery firms’ headquarters in Wolverhampton yesterday, (Thursday), to send out a strong message to the City firm that they would fight to the last. 
 
Seven Stars customers’ from across the Black Country travelled via coach from the pub, in Gospel End Road, to Marstons armed with ‘Save The Seven Stars’ and ‘Marston’s Bitter to Pubs’ placards to protest against proposals to turn the popular public house into a Morrisons store. 
 
Speaking at the protest, Seven Stars pub regular Joy Bills, said: “We want to save the Seven Stars because it is a community pub. 
 
“It is where we all gather, socialise and have a nice drink, have food and have charity events.” 
 
Martin Day, who is also a Save The Seven Stars supporter, said: “Around 2,500 people said they wanted to keep the pub, two out of three of local councilors said they wanted to keep the pub, the MP said he wanted to keep the pub and the MEP said he wanted to keep the pub. 
 
“How can the Planning Inspectorate in Dudley defy local democracy – Save The Seven Stars.” 
 
Sedgley ward Councillor and UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “The protest was about the Sedgley and the wider community coming together to fight against big corporations who it appears do not give a damn about what local people think. 
 
“We have gone through all the usual wheels and democratic process which at every local stage ruled against the supermarket – this was until the Bristol-based Planning Inspectorate got involved and overruled all the local democratic democratically-made decisions. 
 
“We will fight on to save the Seven Stars. I am going to see the Chief Executive of Marstons. When that meeting comes he had better get ready for it, both barrels, as we are not going to put up with this.” 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
Dismay over JLR Slovakia plant plans 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, August 11th 2015 
 
Wolverhampton-born MEP Bill Etheridge has today expressed his dismay over plans which could lead to the development of a new Jaguar Land Rover factory in Slovakia. 
 
The luxury car maker is understood to have signed a letter of intent to build a new plant in Slovakia. 
 
But, commenting on the move today, UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge says the firm’s further expansion outside the UK is a massive mistake and that enlargement of the company should instead continue in the Midlands. 
 
It is understood that JLR Land Rover, which has an engine plant in Wolverhampton, is looking into the prospect of opening a new car factory in the Slovakian town of Nitra, but MEP Bill Etheridge, who is a member of the EU’s Regional Development Committee, says there are sites across the West Midlands that are crying out for such a development. 
 
Mr Etheridge added the West Midlands was ideal for such a plant as the region is a major industrial powerhouse with many skilled people in engineering and innovation. 
 
He said: “I am deeply disappointed, as a proud Black Country man, that JLR Land Rover is seeking to expand further out of the region. 
 
“The West Midlands is an ideal location, geographically, to develop such an operation which would be a fantastic boost to the region and also complement the engine plant in Wolverhampton. 
 
“As a member of the EU Regional Development Committee, I am fighting tooth and nail to get further investment in the West Midlands. 
 
“I think JLR should take a serious look at the many underutilized sites in the region, and indeed across the UK, that are crying out for regeneration.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670 
Cross-party commitment calls in bid to save Dudley Hippodrome 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, July 21 2015 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge is calling for a cross-party commitment to provide concerted support to campaigners fighting to save the Dudley Hippodrome. 
 
The West Midlands MEP, who is also a Sedgley Councillor, has made an “open offer” to work with the other political parties in the borough, in a major effort to drive forward the battle to secure the future of the Hippodrome. 
 
During a debate held last night, Cllr Bill Etheridge, issued the rallying cry to politicians from across the political spectrum to work with him in a partnership to seek ways to safeguard the landmark building. 
 
Following last night’s meeting, Cllr Etheridge said was imperative that political differences should be put aside and for everyone to work together in a partnership to back the Hippodrome campaign. 
 
In April Dudley Hippodrome campaigners were dealt a major setback after The Rok Group announced they were pulling out of investing £8m to refurbish and re-open the facility. 
 
This week, UKIP has stated a clear commitment to work with other parties to save the Hippodrome. 
 
Cllr Bill Etheridge MEP said: “At last night’s debate I made a serious and open offer to work with other parties in the borough to find a way to save the Dudley Hippodrome. 
 
“I believe it is our duty to attract the investment needed to bring the Hippodrome to life and kick-start a renaissance in Dudley culture and nightlife. I am of the firm belief that this landmark building can once again be a jewel in the borough’s crown. 
 
“I intend to use my position as an MEP to approach investors to look at this project and I am happy to work with other political figures in the area to achieve this.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670. 
Kings Road parking a right royal mess. 
 
ISSUE DATE: Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 
 
Sedgley Councillor Bill Etheridge has questioned the lack of foresight concerning parking problems in the Kings Road area. 
 
The houses in Kings Road and surrounding streets were built around the turn of the last century and the upsurge in car ownership is causing congestion on a major scale. Traffic flow is down to single file whilst residents find they cannot park anywhere near their own house and pavements are being blocked by parents taking and collecting their children from the nearby Queen Victoria Primary School 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is also a West Midlands MEP, said “Something needs to be done about this situation before someone is hurt.” 
 
Questioning the logic of Dudley Council continuing to charge for the nearby Bilston St car park, which produces a net annual profit of a mere £283, he added “Parents cannot afford to pay to park twice a day. Why can’t this area be used to facilitate the pick-ups and drop offs and allow the local residents to continue with their lives without having their cars blocked in on their own drives?” 
 
Mr Etheridge has also sent a survey questionnaire to all houses in the area asking for their opinions on the problem. 
 
Dudley Council have sent Parking wardens into the area to try and alleviate the situation. It seems, however, that the message they sent out by ticketing cars illegally parked on the zig-zag lines outside the school was somewhat tainted by the fact that their van was pictured parked two thirds on the pavement, forcing parents with push chairs to walk round it in the road. 
 
“What an example to set!” Mr Etheridge added despairingly. 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Martin Day, Office Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07913 599697. 
Council chief under fire for “fostering misinformation” over Halesowen Greenbelt development 
 
Issue Date: Friday, July 17 2015 
 
A council chief has come under fire for “fostering misinformation” over plans to scrap Halesowen greenbelt business park. 
 
UKIP Dudley’s Group Leader Councillor Paul Brothwood and West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge have today blasted Dudley Council Deputy Leader Judy Foster for falsely claiming, on social media, that UKIP had voted against controversial plans to scrap the business park. 
 
To clarity, UKIP has fought strongly against this proposed development which was a fundamental part of the combined authority plan which was also opposed by UKIP. 
 
Given that Judy Foster voted for the proposed business park along with the West Midlands Combined Authority in Cabinet on June 25, along with Hilary Bills, Labour Halesowen Councillor, UKIP say they are disgusted that the facts are being twisted on how UKIP voted on these crucial issues. 
 
Both Cllr Brothwood and Cllr Bill Etheridge are now calling for Judy Foster to resign over the embarrassing saga. 
 
Commenting today, Wordsley Cllr Paul Brothwood, said: “I can only congratulate Cllr Stuart Henley’s work on this very important issue. He has worked closely with concerned local residents to stop this monstrosity. 
 
“UKIP is fundamentally against development of the greenbelt and believes we should instead focus on rejuvenating brownfield sites. 
 
“As a UKIP Group we voted against the combined authority despite what Judy Foster claims on social media. Fostering misinformation does nothing to help the people of Dudley and the Black Country as a whole.” 
 
UKIP West Midlands MEP and Sedgley ward Councillor Bill Etheridge, added: “I am appalled by complete misinformation being put out by Judy Foster on social media. 
 
“To put the record straight we were against the business park and also against the anti-democratic plans to create combined authority. My stance on the combined authority has been widely reported in the press. 
 
“Judy Foster has a very senior position in the local authority and it is appalling that she has attempted to mislead the public via social media. 
 
“I call on her to reconsider her position as she voted in favour of the business park as also in favour of the combined authority in Cabinet. 
 
“It is only through public opinion, with the support of UKIP, that this development is now dead in the water.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670. 
City services cuts and vanity £22m HQ revamp “slap in the face” for taxpayers – says MEP 
 
Issue Date: Friday, July 17 2015 
 
Wolverhampton-born Euro MP Bill Etheridge has launched a stinging attack at a cash-strapped Black Country authority for pushing ahead with millions of pounds of cuts to libraries, children’s and older people’s services while it goes ahead with a £22m revamp to its HQ. 
 
West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge says the people of Wolverhampton painful cuts being hit with £16.9m worth of cuts in 2016/17, a “slap in the face” through the introduction of extra bus lane cameras all as the Labour-run City Council is set to blow £22m on a Civic Centre revamp. 
 
The Civic Centre will see the refurbishment of the Council’s City Centre offices and car park. 
As part of the cuts £4.3m will be axed from children’s services through ‘restructuring’, £820,000 will be scythed from older people’s services and almost £250,000 in grants will be cut from the City’s prestigious Grand Theatre over two years. 
 
To add to the pain the local authority, which last year said it faced the prospect of bankruptcy, is planning to add more bus lane cameras in an effort to bring in potentially £150,000 in fines. 
 
Commenting today, West Midlands UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “To make cuts to the services and to the coffers of some of our most loved facilities, such as Wolverhampton’s treasured Grand Theatre, is Labour all over. 
 
“It takes from the people then wants to blow millions of pounds, taken from taxpayers, on a revamp to its HQ. It is totally appalling. 
 
“To add insult to injury the authority then wants to hit people with fines through persecuting motorists with the introduction of further cash cow traffic cameras. What a slap in the face for taxpayers. 
 
“Sadly it is taxpayers that will feel the brunt of these cuts while the council spends millions on swanky offices,” he added. 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670. 
Survey shows Black Country folk don’t want a combined authority 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, July 14 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has welcomed the findings of a new survey which shows the vast majority of Black Country folk do not want a ‘combined authority’. 
 
As proud Yam Yams celebrate Black Country Day, the UKIP MEP today called on politicians from Labour and the Tories to listen to the will of the people following the publication of a survey by the Express & Star which showed some 60 per cent of readers were against plans to create a West Midlands Combined Authority. 
 
The survey, which was published today, showed readers were concerned that a combined authority could see a loss of Black Country identity. 
Almost 78 per cent of respondents to the survey said they were proud to live in the Black Country. 
 
Commenting on the findings, West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “The Express & Star’s Your Black Country questionnaire was a fantastic idea and its findings reveal the vast majority of participating readers do not want a combined authority. 
 
“Around 60 per cent are against a combined authority and a massive number of respondents expressed their pride in living in the Black Country. It is time for politicians from Labour and the Conservatives to wake up and listen to the people.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670. 
"Get over yourselves and do you jobs" - MEP has hungry political opponents for lunch 
 
Issue date: Wednesday, July 8 2015 
 
VIDEO of Bill Etheridge challenging rival MEPs please see weblink 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGKg4yAcAtI&feature=youtu.be 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge had rival MEPs for lunch for attempting to rush through voting today in an effort to get to the canteen. 
 
The UKIP MEP called on rival politicians in the Strasbourg Parliament to "get over themselves" and "do their jobs" at today's voting session in the Chamber which turned into a bizarre arm waving Hokey Cokey dance. 
 
UKIP representatives looked on in disgust as some MEPs grumbled at the length of the voting session and the presiding chair over the votes even said: "two more to go then we will all be able to lunch"....and "yes I know you want to eat". 
 
The speed of the voting then reached such as speed that chaos reigned as MEPs struggled to keep up with the pace. 
 
Met by a wall of heckling from rival politicians, UKIP West Midlands MEP, said: "He (the Presiding Chair of the vote) is going that fast it's for, against, against, for, abstain. It's gone (each vote) before you can get your hand up." 
 
To boos and heckling from his political rivals, an outraged Mr Etheridge, continued: "I am sorry if you want your lunch but maybe you would like to vote, you know, get over yourselves and get on with your jobs." 
 
Mr Etheridge was then hit with heckling from rivals around the Chamber and to the UKIP's politician's disgust the presiding Chair responded: "In the interests of speed I will do it (the procedure) in English so that our English colleagues can follow." 
 
Commenting after the voting session, West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: "I was disgusted by the revolting behaviour of some politicians from other political parties who were more interested in rushing through the vote to put their snouts in the trough. 
 
"I, along with my UKIP colleagues, looked on as rival MEPs did a frantic arm waving Hokey Cokey dance to keep relentless pace with the voting. 
 
"Those moaning MEPs should have been thinking about their constituents back home rather than thinking about their bellies. 
 
"It was one of the most appalling displays I have ever seen. It made me sick to my stomach," he added. 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, PRESS OFFICER FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Skirt saga should be addressed warn MEPs 
 
Issue date: Monday, July 6 2015 
 
West Midlands three UKIP MEPs have today called for a ban on girls from wearing skirts at a Staffordshire school to be scrapped following news that a similar move at a Devon school is on hold. 
 
UKIP MEPs Jill Seymour, James Carver and Bill Etheridge, say the ban at Trentham School, in Stoke-on-Trent, is part of a worrying trend of draconian school uniform regimes which are being brought in up and down the country. 
 
One should ban, which was due to come into effect at Plymstock School in Plymouth in September, has been put on hold following concerns raised by parents that girls were being bullied into wearing trousers. 
 
Commenting today, Jill Seymour MEP, said: "I was deeply concerned when I first heard about the skirt saga at Trentham School. 
 
"Obviously, skirts should adhere to a dignified school uniform that is agreeable to all. We need a common sense approach to this not a draconian hard line blanket ban. Will female teachers be forced into wearing trousers in the future?" 
 
James Carver MEP, said: "The situation is very concerning and I urge Trentham School to take note of Plymstock School which has now put its ban on hold to consult with people. Let teachers get on with teachers and not be dogged down by over the top rules." 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP, added: "As MEPs were recently raised concerns about draconian food policies at schools which is seeing teachers confiscating treats such as scotch eggs from children's lunchboxes. Now we have the banning of skirts. Where will it ever end?" 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670 
“Plane crazy” calls to increase tax on flights 
 
Issue Date: Wednesday, July 1 2015 
 
UKIP’s West Midlands MEPs have today launched a three-pronged attack at “plane crazy” calls by a Wolverhampton MP, who never flies, to increase a tax on the cost of flights. 
 
The Party’s national Transport Spokesman Jill Seymour, and fellow West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge, believes pie-in-the-sky suggestions made by Wolverhampton South West MP Rob Marris to raise the tax on flights which leads to soaring costs to flights, show the Labour politician is completely out of touch. 
 
Mr Marris has opposed the axing of air passenger duty (APD) despite admitting that he has not flown for years. 
 
Commenting today, UKIP Transport Spokesman Jill Seymour, said: “Mr Marris’ suggestion is plane crazy and it comes from a man who does not fly. He is the one being selfish not passengers. 
 
“Mr Marris wants to put chocks under the wheels of the airline industry and hit hard-pressed commuters hard with soaring ticket charges." 
 
James Carver MEP said: “Mr Marris’ statements are simply pie in the sky. So much for Labour’s claim to represent the working class." 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP, said: “Mr Marris wants to get his head out of the clouds and concentrate on the people he represents in Wolverhampton South West.” 
 
 
 
 
ENDS 
Funding Stages: 365 days or fine weather only? 
 
ISSUE DATE: Wednesday, July 1 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has questioned the news that money from the EU Regional Development Committee is to be used to create an outdoor stage in Coronation Gardens. 
 
The landscaped area, which faces Dudley Council House has been earmarked for development including the renovation of the fountain, new handrails and improvements to the steps. 
 
He also has grave reservations as regards the War Memorial, raising concerns that it could be used as a vantage point for anyone viewing the new stage. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “I’d find that most disrespectful to the fallen heroes of this country and it seems the ruling council have failed to remember where it is located.” 
 
Questioning the priorities of the regeneration cabinet member, Khurshid Ahmed, Mr Etheridge asked why a new application had not been submitted to secure funds for the benefit of Dudley Hippodrome. 
 
Mr Etheridge said “I sit on the Regional Development Committee in Strasbourg and, if such an application were to be submitted, I would make it my business to personally champion such a move. 
 
“Why spend £1.1m on an outdoor stage that will get used several times a year at best, when a far smaller sum would rid the Hippodrome of the asbestos that is currently holding up the plans for any development. 
 
“Having the Hippodrome re-open would benefit the local economy, bringing visitors from other areas, and would be usable 365 days a year, rather than relying on the notoriously fickle British weather.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Martin Day, Office Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07913 599697. 
Blatant blowing of cash on combined authority blasted 
 
Issue Date: Wednesday, July 1 2015 
 
West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge have blasted the “blatant blowing” of hundreds of thousands of pounds on the anti-democratic push to create a combined Birmingham and Black Country authority. 
 
The UKIP MEPs say the “squandering” of £350,000 on the “regionalisation rush” to establish the supra authority is a gross insult to taxpayers. 
It has also emerged that a further £250,000 could be pumped into the controversial scheme. 
 
Commenting today, James Carver MEP, said: “I am appalled that hundreds of thousands of pounds has been squandered on this regionalisation rush to create a combined Birmingham and Black Country authority when councils have, and continue to make, cuts to services. 
 
“The priority should be on providing excellent frontline services and not on pushing ahead with a scheme for a supra authority which could also be headed up by a Metro Mayor.” 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP, said: “The blatant blowing of hundreds of thousands of pounds on this disgraceful despoiler of local democracy is a gross insult to taxpayers. 
 
“For the seven West Midlands metropolitan local authorities to each spend £50,000 on this power grab from the people is absolutely outrageous.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP and James Carver MEP, on 07881 660941  
Issue Date: Thursday, June 25 2015 
 
Crunch meeting over police front desk closures 
 
Local MEP Bill Etheridge is to hold showdown talks with a the West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner in a bid to bring about a rethink over the closure of the front desks at police stations across the region. 
 
The West Midlands UKIP MEP is to meet PCC David Jamieson on tomorrow in an effort to force a u-turn over the closures, including the front desk at Dudley Police Station. 
 
Bill Etheridge, who is also a Dudley Borough Councillor, wrote to Mr Jamieson last month, calling for a meeting to discuss the cuts which he described as a “major blow” and a “retrograde decision.” 
 
Commenting today, Mr Etheridge, said: “I wrote to Mr Jamieson in May to express my serious concerns over the cuts. 
 
“I welcome confirmation of Friday's meeting and I will do everything I possibly can to present the case for these front desks to be open to the public. 
 
“People need face-to-face contact at police stations and the front desk is an important part of that contact.” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, PRESS OFFICER TO BILL ETHERIDGE ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Migrant crisis brings EU folly into focus 
 
Issue Date: Wednesday, June 24th 2015 
 
West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge are calling on the French authorities to get a grip on the migrant crisis after migrants attempted to exploit the chaos of the Calais port strike in a desperate attempt to get to Britain. 
 
The UKIP MEPs, who are themselves currently on the Continent, says the worrying and potentially dangerous situation, highlights the extent of the migrant crisis across the Channel. 
 
Migrants attempted to board lorries bound for the UK and drivers were advised to keep their vehicles locked. 
 
Commenting today, the MEPs, who are currently in Brussels, said the French authorities were turning a blind eye to the reality of the problem and said the open borders policy with the EU was being abused. 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP, said: “Not only is it inconvenient for thousands of people to be stranded on this side of the channel when this happened but it highlights the major migrant crisis that is caused by migrants traveling across the EU to get to the land of milk and honey in the UK. 
 
“The French authorities have a responsibility to take a stronger line on clearing the migrants that gather near the Channel Tunnel. 
 
“This ongoing situation is not only troublesome but potentially very dangerous for all concerned. 
 
“Once again our open borders with the EU are being abused and our so-called partners on the continent are content to let it happen.” 
 
James Carver MEP, said: “The scenes seen in Calais this week demonstrate the need to seriously look at our immigration policy. Our NHS and other services are already under significant strain. 
 
“We need a simple and fair Australian-style points system for immigration to be in operation in Britain. 
 
“UKIP would introduce a visa system based on the Australian points model. This would be an ethical visa system for work and study, based on the principle of equal application to all people. 
 
“We should have control over our own borders but thanks to the EU we do not have that control.” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, PRESS OFFICER TO BILL ETHERIDGE AND JAMES CARVER, ON 07881 660941. 
Major victory to safeguard future of popular pub 
 
Issue Date: Wednesday, June 24th 2015 
 
Campaigners battling controversial plans to build a Co-op convenience store on the car park of a popular Wollescote pub have won a major victory. 
 
Dudley Council has approved an application, submitted by UKIP, is to be added to the list of buildings of Asset of Community Value. 
 
The application was submitted by UKIP in March as part of a major ongoing Save Our Pubs campaign initiative, which is being spearheaded by UKIP MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge in a bid to protect financially viable pubs across the West Midlands region. 
 
In a letter Andy Wright, Head of Corporate Policy & Research at Dudley Council, today confirmed: “…The decision of the Council is to list the Hare & Hounds as an Asset of Community Value. This decision will be communicated to New River Retail as the current leaseholder. 
 
“They have the right to reply to ask for a review of this decision. If they choose to exercise this right, the Council will arrange a hearing open to both parties. 
 
“It will be the Council’s responsibility to decide at that hearing whether to uphold or to revoke the original decision, and it will be made by persons who were not part of the first decision-making body. 
 
“In the meantime, the asset will be added to a public list of Assets of Community Value and will remain on that list for five years from the original date of the decision, pending the possibility of a decision review and its outcome.” 
Commenting today, James Carver MEP, said: “This is fantastic news for the Hare & Hounds pub. I now call on NewRiver to drop the Co-op scheme. 
 
“Hopefully, we can now raise a pint to a brighter and more secure future for this popular pub. We will continue to monitor the situation.” 
 
Fellow West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, added: “It has been a spirited campaign and I am glad to see this latest step taken on the road to defeat the convenience store application.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to James Carver MEP and Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670. 
Europhile EU myths branded Tories’ “Achilles Heel” 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, June 23 2015 
 
West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge have today welcomed the findings of a heavyweight 1,000-page study which goes a big way towards slaying the many myths associated with the so-called benefits of staying in the EU. 
 
The Change or Go study calls for fundamental change in Britain’s relationship with the EU. 
 
The new assessment, which has been produced by a group of economic analysts and business leaders, sets out a list of demands for changes that Prime Minister David Cameron ought to make. 
 
It also challenges the central claim that membership of the European Union is good for British businesses. 
 
The findings of the assessment come just weeks after JCB boss Lord Bamford dug further holes in the Europhile argument that leaving the EU would be disastrous for the Britain. 
 
Commenting today on the Change or Go study, James Carver MEP, UKIP’s Commonwealth Spokesman, said: “David Cameron’s Europhile stance on the EU is a major Achilles heel for the Tories who continue to spread myths to frighten people into staying in the EU. 
 
“This new 1,000 page study further slays the myths revolving around our Britain’s membership of the EU. The UK cannot even make its own Free Trade Agreements as we are shackled to the EU which rules over us like Zeus. 
 
“Britain is a major world economy and as a world economy we should be trading globally. We are held back from doing so thanks to EU red tape and interference.” 
 
Fellow West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, who is a member of the EU’s Regional Development Committee (REGI), added: “The EU holds the UK back. It stifles us with diktats and leglisation. 
 
“It is time for Britain to leave the EU and not be dictated to by unaccountable and unelected pen pushers in Brussels.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to James Carver MEP and Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670 
Delay over TTIP a betrayal of the NHS 
 
Issue Date: Wednesday, June 10 2015 
 
Tory and Labour MEPs have today been accused of selling the NHS down the river after voting to delay a crucial vote. 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge says Conservative and Labour MEPs showed “complete contempt” for Britain’s NHS after voting to suspend a debate and vote on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in the European Parliament which was due to take place this today. 
 
UKIP wanted the critical debate to go ahead but a vote on it was and lost by just two votes (183 to 181). 
 
Commenting on the situation Mr Etheridge accused Labour and Conservative’s of doing a grubby deal on TTIP which poses a major threat to the NHS. 
 
He said: “The result of this vote is a sorry day for the NHS which is far from being safe in the hands of Conservatoive and Labour politicians whose behavior leaves me feeling sickened. 
 
“Backing the delay shows Labour and the Tories are terrified of public scrutiny over the TTIP. 
 
“UKIP believes that NHS care should be free at the point of access, and TTIP poses an ominous threat to that. 
 
“We are the only party opposed to allowing American corporate companies to win contracts in the NHS and potentially sue our own Government if policy changes bring about a cut in profits. 
 
“I just don’t know how those British Tory and Labour MEPs will be able to face the British public on their return to the UK after voting in this way. They have shown complete contempt for the NHS.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
MEP demands showdown talks over Dudley Police Station 
 
Issue Date: Friday, May 15 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is demanding showdown talks with senior Labour Party figures following shock news that the front desk at Dudley Police Station is to close in the matter of weeks. 
 
The UKIP MEP says Labour Dudley North MP Ian Austin should hang his head in shame following revelations that the police station front desk in Dudley is to be closed on May 31. 
 
Commenting on the hammer blow news today, Mr Etheridge said he is demanding a meeting with Labour’s Police & Crime Commissioner and Mr Austin in an effort to save the station’s front desk. 
 
He said: “The closure of the front desk would be a major blow to the people of Dudley who have once again been let down by a two-faced Labour party who on the one hand campaigned to save the front desk then on the other its Police Crime & Commissioner is wielding the axe to close it just after an election. 
 
“As an MEP proudly presenting the people of Dudley, I am demanding a meeting with the PCC and Mr Austin in a bid to reverse this retrograde decision.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670 
Red faced council chiefs admit repairs needed to £235,000 “Caunt’s Folly” 
 
ISSUE DATE: Wednesday, March 18 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge says Council chiefs in Dudley should be “red faced” after admitting “Caunt’s Folly” is in need of repairs despite spending more than £200,000 on it just over a year ago. 
 
The Environmental Management department at Dudley Council has contacted Sedgley Councillor Bill Etheridge to confirm that it would be working with the original contractor on the wall which only underwent a £235,000 revamp just over 12 months ago. 
 
In February, Bill Etheridge, UKIP’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Dudley North, and a Sedgley ward Councillor, said the Council should have known better than to blow such a whopping sum of taxpayers’ money on the wall which is located on the corner of Vicar Street and Gospel End Street. 
 
Cllr Etheridge blasted the cash-strapped Council in December 2013 for spending such a colossal sum of money on the wall when the authority was making painful cuts elsewhere. 
 
Dudley Council contacted Cllr Etheridge recently to confirm that repairs were needed to the wall. 
 
In the written response, the Council stated: “We are aware that some of the mortar pointing has become friable, and is flaking off in places, and we are working with the original contractor to remedy the situation. 
 
“Due to the requirement of lime-based mortar to be used on this job remedial works will only be possible during the drier and warmer months of the year. 
 
“In the meantime, the arisings will be swept up as necessary to maintain a tidy appearance.” 
 
Commenting today, Cllr Etheridge, said: "The whole sorry saga over the wall, which he has refers to as “Caunt’s Folly,” has been an embarrassing and costly debacle which should never have happened in the first place. 
 
“The Caunt’s Folly fiasco is an ongoing boil that needs lancing and could have been avoided by not wasting £235,000 on it in the first place. 
 
“How much more money is going to be wasted on this monument to one man’s arrogance?” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Media & Communications Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
Locals pack public meeting to save their pub from supermarket scheme 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, March 17th 2015 
 
Livid locals at a popular pub in Stourbridge attended a public meeting last night to vent their anger over plans to build a supermarket on their hostelry’s car park. 
 
Around 80 residents packed a public meeting at the Hare & Hounds Inn as part of a major Save The Pubs campaign which is being spearheaded by local UKIP MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge. 
 
The Save The Pubs campaign aims to raise a glass to successful pubs and to the contribution they make to their local communities. 
 
Thousands of leaflets were distributed ahead of the meeting to promote the campaign and efforts to stop proposals to build a Co-operative convenience on the car park at The Hare & Hounds Inn, in Wynall Lane. 
 
Speaking at the meeting James Carver MEP, said: “Pubs are community assets and we will fight for pubs that are making a profit. I urge people to put pressure on all political parties and hold them into account on this issue. 
 
“There’s already too many supermarkets and not enough pubs. We want to support community assets and the Hare & Hounds is making a profit. The convenience store will be a nail in the coffin. 
 
“The ball really is in our court but we must not be complacent following this meeting. It is up to us.” 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “We have got a crisis in British pubs because they are being closed down at an alarming rate. We have launched the Save The Pubs campaign to do something about it. 
 
“Pubs are the hub of any community. Public houses are about having a drink and a good natter with your friends and neighbours. They will not take our pubs away from us for a quick profit. 
 
“If you have got something (a pub) that’s a going concern then we will fight these big corporate organisations. 
 
“James and I will certainly be raising this issue in the EU Parliament. We will fight every attack on this pub”. 
 
Bill Etheridge, who is also a Sedgley ward Councillor, supported the campaign to save the Seven Stars pub in Sedgley and secured the building Asset of Community Value status. 
 
As part of the Save The Pubs campaign UKIP MEP James Carver and Councillor Paul Brothwood, UKIP’s Parliamentary Candidate for Dudley South, will be holding a public meeting at the Bridge Pub, in Moss Grove, Kingswinford, on Thursday, April 2nd at 7.30pm. 
 
Plans are afoot to build a convenience store on the car park of this traditional public house which organises regular activities to raise funds for local and national good causes. 
 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, PRESS OFFICER TO JAMES CARVER AND BILL ETHERIDGE MEPs, ON 07881 660941. 
SAVE OUR PUBS - PUBLIC MEETING CALLED 
 
Issue Date: Thursday, March 12 2015 
 
West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge are to hold a major public meeting as part of a major drive to combat plans which could threaten the future of a popular local pub. 
 
The UKIP MEPs, who have just launched a Save Our Pubs campaign, will be holding a public meeting at the Hare & Hounds Inn, in Wynall Lane, on Monday, March 16th at 7.30pm. 
 
UKIP has joined locals at the Hare & Hounds to fight controversial proposals to build a Co-Operative convenience store on the pub's car park. 
 
Thousands of leaflets have been distributed to local residents to promote the event and also the wider Save Our Pubs campaign which is being spearheaded in the West Midlands by James Carver and Bill Etheridge. 
 
Along with the Hare & Hounds campaign both MEPs are also fighting Aldi's plans to build a supermarket on the site of the landmark King Arthur pub in Dudley. 
 
Commenting today, James Carver MEP, said: "The forthcoming public meeting is part of a newly-launched Save Our Pubs campaign which is gaining momentum. 
 
"We are campaigning on a number of fronts to stand up for financially viable pubs, including the Seven Stars in Sedgley and the Hare & Hounds Inn, in Stourbridge. 
 
"We should be raising a glass to the contribution pubs make to their local communities. My message is back our Save Our Pubs campaign and by doing so you will also be standing up for your local community." 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP, said: "I urge people to attend this public meeting and learn more about the proposals for the Hare & Hounds and also hear more about the wider Save Our Pubs initiative. 
 
"Our popular pubs should be protected. They are not just businesses, they are not just public houses, they can be people's homes," he added. 
 
Entrance to the meeting at the Hare & Hounds is free and all are welcome to attend. 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, PRESS OFFICER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941. 
Verbal salvo launched over EU Army push  
 
Wednesday, March 11 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has launched a stinging verbal salvo at two leading Europhiles for calling for the establishment of an EU army. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has today blasted Guy Verhofstadt, President of the Liberal group (ALDE) for supporting the creation of an EU army. 
 
Mr Verhofstadt's comments in the EU Parliament earlier today, come just days after Claude Juncker, who is the President of the European Commission, also his expressed his backing for an EU army. 
 
Addressing Mr Verhofstadt in the EU Parliament in Strasbourg today, UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: "You started your speech by pointing out the difficulties with sovereign states and their Ambassadors having different views and different priorities when dealing with Russia. 
 
"Doesn't that, out of your own words, condemn the whole idea of a common EU foreign policy to the rubbish bin because there are too many different priorities - it can never work can it?" 
 
Responding Mr Verhofstadt said: "I agree with 28 different diplomacies and 28 different armies it's not possible. 
 
"You can continue with your British Army there's no problem for me but if you look to the world of today, as you look to the empires of India and China and the United States and at the same time Russia, I think that the time is very near that we are going to decide on a European Army in the European Union." 
 
Speaking after the EU debate, Bill Etheridge MEP said: "Mr Verhofstadt's rabidly Europhile views were a clear demonstration that the democracies and sovereignty of EU member states is under attack. 
 
"UKIP has suffered years of ridicule from other political parties in Britain and indeed from mainstream media for warning of EU manoeuvres to create a European Army. 
 
"Mr Verhofstadt's and Mr Juncker's comments show UKIP was right to report back to the British public on this issue and on the threat to the very existence of the British Army as it is today. 
 
"How can the EU be taken seriously on a matter of support importance as defence when you look at the raft of ridiculous and nonsensical rules that march out Brussels? 
 
"The creation of an EU army would put a further nail in the coffin of the sovereignty of nation states." 
 
 
Notes to editors: 
 
Link to Mr Verhofstadt's speech: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of89KeUBr4Q 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 01902 664670 OR 07881 660941 
 
 
COME AND JOIN THE UKIP PEOPLE'S ARMY. 
 
PUBLIC MEETING 
 
WITH UKIP MEPs Steven Woolfe and Bill Etheridge. 
 
Friday March 6th at 6.30pm for 7.30pm start. The Bush Inn, Buffery Road, Dudley. Entry is free and all are welcome to attend. 
STOURBRIDGE LANDLORD BACKS SAVE OUR PUBS CAMPAIGN 
 
ISSUE DATE: Wednesday, February 25 2015 
 
West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge, who have this week launched a Save Our Pubs campaign, say they will fight tooth and nail to protect popular Black Country boozers from potentially ruinous redevelopment plans which could affect hundreds of public houses. 
 
UKIP MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge fear the sale of 202 Marston’s pubs to retail property group NewRiver Retail could lead to the loss of a worrying number of financially viable hostelries which are providing an excellent service to their locals. 
 
James Carver MEP last weekend met the landlord of the Hare & Hounds Inn, in Stourbridge, whose pub, likes many others faces the threat of development. 
 
NewRiver Retail want to build a Co-op convenience store on the car park of the popular pub in Wynall Lane and the pub’s landlord, Lee Sargent, is deeply concerned that the plan, if it comes to fruition, who have a massive impact on his business’ trade. 
 
The plight of the Hare and Hounds, and the Seven Stars in Sedgley, where local residents, supported by UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge are fighting proposals to turn the local into a Morrisons convenience store, has prompted UKIP to launch a Save Our Pubs campaign to stand up for the pubs and a sea of new supermarket development schemes. 
 
Commenting today, James Carver MEP, said: “I was pleased to see Dudley Council reject plans to turn the Gigmill pub into a convenience but many more ruinous plans, for pubs such as the Hare & Hounds in Stourbridge are on the cards. 
 
“A number of pubs across Dudley, Stourbridge and Halesowen could be affected by NewRiver Retail’s plans including The Bird in Hand in Oldswinford and the Hare & Hounds Inn. 
 
“Financially viable pub should not be sacrificed to make a quick buck to the detriment of the local communities they serve.” 
 
Fellow West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “Save Our Pubs is a major initiative we have set up to campaign on behalf of our great public houses. 
 
“Last orders should not be called on our popular locals. UKIP will continue to champion our vibrant local pubs including the Seven Stars in Sedgley and the Hare & Hounds Inn, in Stourbridge. UKIP’s message is clear – Save Our Pubs.” 
 
Lee Sargeant, landlord at the Hare & Hounds in Stourbridge, said: “The Hare & Hounds is one of the best pubs around here and I fear the plans for our car park will just kill the pub. 
 
“It is our family home and we don’t want to lose it. I have got five children and they all go to schools around here. The scheme has created uncertainty which we do not need nor want,” he added. 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Media & Communications Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP and James Carver MEP, on 07881 660941. 
SAVE OUR PUBS CAMPAIGN TO BE LAUNCHED 
 
Thursday, February 19th 2015 
 
West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge are to launch a major Save Our Pubs campaign following news that the future of a number of local hostelries has been plunged into uncertainty. 
 
UKIP MEP James Carver, says the loss of financially viable pubs, would be bitter blows for the communities they serve. 
Earlier this week Mr Carver welcomed news that planning chiefs at Dudley Council had rejected plans to turn the popular Gigmill Pub into a convenience store. 
 
But, now the futures of a string of other local pubs could be affected by plans – including The Hare and Hounds in Wollescote and The Bird in Hand in Oldswinford. 
 
One such plan – the creation of a retail outlet – would see last orders called on The Bird in Hand. 
 
Mr Carver, West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge and fellow local UKIP party activists, are set to launch a major Save Our Pubs campaign. 
 
As part of the initiative, thousands of Save Our Pubs leaflets, calling for the preservation of financially viable public houses, will be distributed. 
 
Commenting on the issue today, Mr Carver, said: “It is great news that planners have rejected the plans for the Gigmill. It is a popular pub and serves the local community well. 
 
“I am, however, deeply concerned by moves to create a string of Co-operative stores on the car parks of pubs such as the Old Court House Hotel in Kingswinford and the Hare And Hounds in Wollescote. 
 
“The bulldozing of the Bird in Hand would be a major, bitter blow for the area. Our Save Our Pubs campaign will send out the message that UKIP will continue to support financially viable locals – as we have demonstrated in the case of the Seven Stars in Sedgley.” 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP, said: “Over the last couple of years along the West Midlands has witnessed the loss of hundreds of local pubs. 
 
“It is time to put local communities before profit. I call on people to join our Save Our Pubs campaign.” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER TO JAMES CARVER MEP AND BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941. 
Ribena - a sour taste for Labour 
 
 
Issue Date: Monday, February 16th 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has welcomed the results of a Labour Party test which offers a batch of thirst-quenching findings that will leave a “sour taste” in the mouths of Labour MPs. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, says the results of Labour's “Ribena test” demonstrates the purple party is poised to record some sweet results in May. 
 
Fearful Labour has undertaken a series of 'risk assessments' of seats which could turn from red to purple and Labour Party bosses have produced briefings for 50 MPs who are seen at most risk from UKIP's growing People's Army. 
 
The Ribena test findings will fall flat with beleagured Labour Party activists who could see seats such as Dudley North, Rotherham, Haywood & Middleton and Great Grimsby taken by UKIP. 
 
Commenting on the findings of the Ribena test Bill Etheridge MEP, who is also a Councillor representing the Sedgley ward, said: “The findings of Ribena test will leave a very sour taste in the mouths of many Labour MPs – including Ian Austin's who is clinging on with a wafer thin majority. 
 
“Labour is clearly terrified of the UKIP Ribena effect which could see a refreshing switch for seats up and down the country from red to purple. 
 
“The risk assessments by Labour show the key three areas at the most risk from UKIP are Rother Valley, Great Grimsby and Dudley North. 
 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Media & Communications Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
Desperate MP finally risks face to face debate 
 
 
Issue date: Wednesday, February 11 2015 
 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is, at long last, set to take on Labour MP Ian Austin in a debate. 
 
Dudley North MP Ian Austin has given in to months of pressure and has agreed to debate against UKIP MEP and Sedgley Councillor Bill Etheridge, at Dudley College on March 20th. 
 
Last November, Cllr Etheridge threw down the gauntlet to the MP after a row erupted between the pair on social media. 
 
Mr Austin then claimed, both on social media sites such as Twitter, and in the press, that UKIP would privatise the NHS despite UKIP’s national party policy clearly stating the purple party’s total commitment to safeguarding a free NHS. 
 
Commenting today, Cllr Etheridge, said: "At long last Mr Austin has put his head above the parapet and has accepted my challenge to a debate. 
 
"For months, he has dodged, fudged and ignored my calls for a debate but now he has reluctantly accepted my challenge to a hustings´ style event. 
 
"I look forward to March 20th to talk about UKIP´s common sense policies and about our local campaigns, including our opposition to £200,000 cuts to children´s services and our support of the drive to save the Seven Stars Pub. 
 
"Labour has let down Dudley North badly. It is time for change, it is time for a breath of fresh air and that breath of fresh air is UKIP." 
 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
MEP says council bosses should have known better over “Caunt’s folly” 
 
Issue Date: Friday, February 6 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is stony-faced over a crumbling brick wall which underwent a whopping £235,000 revamp just over a year ago. 
 
The UKIP MEP says council bosses in Dudley should have known better than to blow more than £200,000 on a wall, on the corner of Vicar Street and Gospel End Street, which is now in an appalling state. 
 
In December 2013, Bill Etheridge blasted cash-strapped Dudley Council on spending such a large sum on the wall when the authority was making cuts elsewhere. 
 
Now, the wall lies in a crumbling state, and Mr Etheridge says it is clear that the council needs to admit that the project was a waste of money as the wall is already in a state of disrepair. 
 
Commenting today, he said: “In December 2013 I raised serious questions over the priorities of the local authority and the blowing of £200,000 on a wall. 
 
“It is clear just a couple of years on that I was right in saying that the council should have known better than to spend money in this way. This crumbling wall should be forever known as Caunt’s folly.” 
 
“This Labour-led council now wants to save £200,000 by axing free travel to young children with special educational needs. So, on one hand money is squandered on a wall then on the other the council proposes taking money off children in need of additional support." 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
"Laughable" Labour to hold taxpayer-subsidised anti UKIP meeting in the Black Country 
 
Issue date: Thursday, January 29 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is today demanding answers from senior members of the Labour Party following news that the red party is set to hold a taxpayer-subsidised anti UKIP meeting in the Black Country. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, has launched a stinging attack at Labour following revelations that they intend to hold an anti UKIP gathering at Dudley Council House on February 5. 
 
Mr Etheridge, said he is appalled over the move and that council tax payers in Dudley should not have to foot the bill for the "desperate meeting" which is being organised by a party that is clearly terrified of UKIP. 
 
The meeting, focusing on campaigning, has being called by West Midlands MEP Siôn Simon and the planned line-up of speakers include Dudley North MP Ian Austin and West Midlands MEP Neena Gill. 
 
Commenting today, Mr Etheridge, said: "I am appalled that hard-pressed taxpayers´ money could be used to subsidise the cost of this desperate political gathering. 
 
"Labour is laughable and if they really want to know what´s going on in Dudley maybe they should contact me directly. 
 
"When I heard about this planned meeting I thought it was a joke but the only joke is Labour itself. 
 
"Again, the invite to this meeting repeats the same old rubbish that UKIP would privatise the NHS when in fact our health policy clearly expresses a total commitment to maintaining an NHS that is free at the point of delivery. In fact it was Labour who mooted the idea of charging people to see their GP. 
 
"Labour is terrified of UKIP - why else would they be planning to organise an anti party meeting? 
 
"My message to Labour is this - UKIP is breathing down your neck and we will continue to stand up for Dudley, the Black Country, the West Midlands region and this country as a whole." 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Campaign launched over moves to scrap transport lifeline to children with special educational needs 
 
ISSUE DATE: Monday, January 19 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is launching a major multimedia campaign against “shameful” moves by Dudley Council which could scrap a vital transport lifeline to children with special educational needs. 
 
The MEP, who is also a Sedgley councillor is launching a concerted online, petition and extensive leafleting drive to combat Labour’s immoral threat to the service. 
 
Dudley Council is consulting with the public on controversial changes to its children services transport policy which currently authorises the payment of transport costs for young children attending a specialist nursery, usually for an assessment of their special educational needs. 
 
The consultation document, which carries a slogan ‘putting children and young people first in Dudley’, states the Labour-run local authority is not legally obliged to provide such support and states that it is proposed, from September 2015, that the policy is amended and that the “discretionary travel support provided to pre-school settings ceases.” 
 
The report goes to say that parents will be “expected” to get their children to a specialist nursery. Of the 49 children currently in receipt of free travel, 11 will remain at a specialist nursery for the academic year 2015/16. 
 
Transport will no longer be offered to the families of youngsters enrolling at the nursery from September 2015 onwards. 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “I am totally opposed to ceasing this vital support to the families of children with special educational needs. 
 
“Surely savings could be made elsewhere – like scrapping the position of Chief Executive at the council for a start. 
 
“It would be immoral to scrap this support to the families taking these children to this nursery when the same local authority recently approved massive hikes to fat cat salaries and also voted down UKIP proposals to reduce the number of councillors thereby bringing down the cost of politics in Dudley. 
 
“I will fight this tooth and nail. A petition has now gone on my MEP website www.billetheridge.co.uk and I will also go out into the borough to collect signatures. I will also distribute thousands of leaflets stating my complete opposition to this council proposal. 
 
“This Labour run authority should be ashamed of itself. While it pays huge wages to fat cats it takes money away from the parents of very young children with special educational needs. So much for the council’s boast of putting children and young people first in Dudley.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Media & Communications Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
Council u-turn over problem plagued car park 
 
Issue Date: Monday, January 19 2015 
 
Dudley Council has been forced to perform a u-turn by now pledging to provide beefed up security at a problem-plagued borough car park which has been blighted by drug taking and anti-social behaviour. 
 
Following a short campaign by Sedgley councillor and West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, Dudley Council has confirmed in writing that they will resume funding for securing Tenscore car park to the rear of the Ladies Walk Health Centre. 
 
Only three days ago, (Friday, January 16), the council’s Parks Development Team emailed Mr Etheridge’s team to say they did not have the budget to cover the locking of this facility and would look to volunteers to complete the task. 
 
But, Mr Etheridge, argued that failure to secure the car park was causing nuisance and distress to nearby residents due to activities such as drug taking and loud music late at night. 
 
Mr Etheridge received worrying reports of drug taking and also the discovery of use condoms which were found in the nearby play area. 
 
However, over the weekend the local authority have backed down and has now confirmed the site will be secured “as per the original arrangements” which will see a private security company locking both the Ladies Walk Health Centre and the car park every evening. 
 
Commenting today, Cllr Etheridge, said: “This is a victory for common sense and for nearby residents who just want to live their lives in peace. 
 
“The reports I received about this car park were truly appalling and I am pleased the council has found the funds to ensure this site is secured every evening.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 01902 664670 OR 07881 6600941. 
Traffic misery on Beacon estate 
 
Issue date: Tuesday, January 13 2015 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has been contacted by residents of the Beacon estate in Sedgley regarding overflow traffic hurtling through the estate in an effort to avoid the congestion in the village centre. 
 
Mr Etheridge says Speed humps in Bath Street mean that an increasing number of vehicles are cutting through the smaller roads on the estate and causing a hazard to public safety. 
 
Not only is it dangerous crossing roads, but there have been incidents of damage to wing mirrors, which will only increase in the event of icy weather. 
 
As a result of these complaints, Cllr Etheridge, has sent out a questionnaire to the 250 houses affected in the estate. 
 
This asks what the residents feel is the best way of calming traffic in the estate and establishes that there is public consensus for any works that may be suggested. It is all part of UKIP’s policy of returning democracy to the people on a local level. 
 
With the first few forms being returned to Cllr Etheridge, it seems that the demand is there for action to be taken. 
 
Mr Etheridge said “I call upon the council to do a detailed investigation into the possibilities of speed humps or a 20mph speed limit in the area. 
 
“My initial conversations with residents show there is an issue of safety here and we need definitive action to be taken before somebody is badly hurt or worse.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Media & Communications Manager to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670. 
Labour laziness over future of Sedgley pub 
 
Issue Date: Saturday, January 10 2015 
 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has today lambasted ‘Labour laziness’ over the future of a popular Sedgley pub. 
 
Bill Etheridge, has lashed out at Labour Councillor Judy Foster who has failed to approve a motion which was unanimously agreed by the last Full Council around six weeks ago. 
 
Mr Etheridge says he is bitterly disappointed that the issue has fallen flat with fellow borough Councillor Judy Foster as she has still not adopted the motion at Cabinet level within the local authority. 
 
The motion is designed to stop the conversion of profitable public houses into local supermarkets and is backed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). 
 
Mr Etheridge said: “I am uncertain as to why this unnecessary delay has occurred when all Dudley councillors have supported the UKIP motion which aims to secure the future, of not only the Seven Stars, but also other profitable pubs which are serving up an excellent service to the public. 
 
“The delay is inexcusable. Why the failure to act? Dudley Councillors have all backed the motion. This motion needs to be put into action.” 
 
Local Seven Stars campaigner, John Hurst, said: “With Tesco recently announcing it is to close more than 40 stores one has to question why another supermarket chain is wishing to close the Seven Stars.” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 01902 664670 OR 07881 6600941. 
Dudley Council told to step up to the mark to protect public safety 
 
Issue Date: Saturday, January 10 2015 
 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge fears someone could be seriously injured if urgent action in not taken to provide grit boxes for residents living in the lower levels of maisonettes in Sedgley. 
 
Bill Etheridge says he is deeply concerned for the safety of residents, particularly the elderly, in Ettymore Close, who are forced to trudge up several flights of steps to access the nearest grit box which is currently situated in Uplands Road. 
 
Mr Etheridge collected a petition from the residents calling for a grit bin to be installed in Ettymore Close. This petition has been submitted to the Highways Department at Dudley Council. 
 
Sadly, confusion reigns as the Highways Department claim the issue is not their responsibility and is a matter for its Highways Department who in turn has informed Cllr Etheridge that it is something that they do not usually get involved with. 
 
Commenting today, Mr Etheridge, said it is time for Dudley Council to “pull its finger out” and address the problem. 
 
He said: “The whole thing is a farce and I am deeply concerned someone could be badly hurt in the attempt to access the grit bin in Uplands Road. 
 
“I do not care whose responsibility it is to address this problem, I just want this problem to be resolved. It is time for Dudley Council to pull its finger out and take action before someone is hurt.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 01902 664670 OR 07881 6600941. 
Dudley Council’s “disgusting” response to plague of rats 
 
Issue Date: Monday, December 22 2014 
 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge says he is disgusted to the response from Dudley Council about the plague of rats which is blighting a borough neighbourhood. 
 
Mr Etheridge said the response from Cllr Hilary Bills, which hid behind the supposition that it was private land, was "woefully inadequate". 
 
He said: "Asking people to report anyone dumping rubbish is not the issue. The rubbish has already been dumped, now it is a question of getting rid of it.” 
 
The land in question is not private land at all. It is in fact un-adopted. 
 
Mr Etheridge, who is a Dudley councillor, added "This is a piece of land which no one owns. It is a problem which lends itself to the spending of public money for the benefit of the local neighbourhood. Dudley Council's response is woefully inadequate and I am very disappointed in it." 
 
Mr Etheridge now challenges Dudley Council to behave in a manner which befits a public body and clean up the eyesore site. 
 
Failure to do that within three weeks and he has pledged to pay contractors out of his own pocket to do the job. 
 
On hearing the news of Cllr Etheridge's pledge, resident Julia Stevenson, said she was "delighted", adding: "I am really thrilled the nightmare, which has haunted us for nearly 18 months, is finally coming to an end, and I cannot thank Bill enough for his pledge". 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 01902 664670 or 07881 660941. 
An outraged gran has today issued a plea to Dudley Council before Christmas – “Please take action now, I found a rat in my granddaughter’s cot.”  
 
Friday, December 12 2014 
 
Julia Stevenson, of Aston Road, Dudley, has issued a call before Christmas for Dudley Council to urgently tackle a major rat menace after discovering, to her shock, a rat in her two-year-old granddaughter’s cot. 
 
Ms Stevenson has enlisted the help of West Midlands’ MEP Bill Etheridge in an effort to address the source of the rodent problem once and for all. 
 
UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge visited Ms Stevenson yesterday (Thursday, December 11) to discuss the ongoing rat problem which is believed to be fuelled by a rubbish-strewn path at the back of Aston Road. 
 
The overgrown path is choked with general rubbish, weeds and dumped items such as broken fridges, but Dudley Council has refused to clear up the source of the rat problem as the path is unadopted. 
 
Last month, the Office of Bill Etheridge MEP contacted the local authority to highlight the issue and to call on the council to take necessary action. 
 
But, in a response to Cllr Bill Etheridge, Dudley Council’s environmental department, said they would only continue to send pest control to the site and would not clean up the path as there is no legal ownership of the path. 
 
Commenting today, Ms Stevenson, said: “It’s an absolute nightmare. I have found dead rats in the out house and I even discovered a rat in my granddaughter’s cot. 
 
“All I want to see is an end to this ongoing problem. It is appalling. We shouldn’t have to put up with this. What sort of Christmas will we have? 
 
“I am very angry at the response, or lack of it, from Dudley Council. They just seem to want to keep putting a sticking plaster on the problem. Why do they not do the sensible thing and clean up the path?” 
 
UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, who visited the site yesterday, said: “The path is in a disgusting state. There are weeds everywhere, plus litter and broken electrical items. 
 
“In correspondence I have had with the council it appears they just want to do a bodge job rather than undertaking a permanent solution by cleaning up this eyesore path. 
 
“Come on Dudley Council show some Christmas spirit – clean up this path. I ask Councillors from the ruling Labour administration, would they like to find a rat in a toddler’s cot?” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Damning new report shows taxation and red tape has killed more than 6,000 pubs since 2006 
 
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10 2014 
 
MEP Bill Etheridge has pledged to campaign to support the struggling British pub industry following the publication of a damning new report which shows the devastating impact that taxation and red tape has had on public houses. 
 
The UKIP MEP, has vowed to stand up for the interests of the great British pub, following today's publication of a report, by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), which shows the number of public houses has plummeting. 
 
Taxation, regulation and declining real wages, as a result of the recession, have been responsible for the closure of more than 6,000 pubs in the past eight years, states the IEA's Closing Time – Who's Killing the British Pub? report. 
 
The stark report reveals that, since 2006, the number of pubs has nosedived. 
 
Secondly, a 2012 report by the Institute for Public Policy (entitled Pubs and Places) found that the West Midlands lost a greater share of its pubs than any other part of the UK between 2005 and 2009. 576 pubs closed in this period. 
 
Mr Etheridge, along with fellow UKIP Councillors in Dudley, recently succeeded in getting a motion voted through to ensure that the local Council only permits a change of use of redevelopment of a public house following an assessment. 
 
Commenting on the IEA's report, its author Christopher Snowden, said: “British pubs may be suffering from long-term cultural shifts, but government policies have hugely exacerbated this trend. 
 
“Taxation and regulation have been the leading causes of the decimation of the UK pub industry since 2006. The level of alcohol duty in the UK is hugely regressive, hitting the poorest the hardest. 
 
“Taxes must be lowered, and one-size-fits-all policies like the current smoking ban must be reconsidered if we are to temper the rate of decline of the British pub.” 
 
Commenting on the report's findings, Bill Etheridge MEP, said: “The great British pub is a focal institution in local communities and the impact of taxation, regulation and declining real wages since the recession has had a devastating impact on the pub industry 
 
“I am personally committed to fighting to lower taxation and this is a definite area where the state has damaged an industry with its greed for tax takings. 
 
“As an MEP I will continue to work with the IEA to stand up for the interests of the British pub industry. 
 
“Hopefully, if common sense prevails, we can raise a pint to a brighter future for the industry.” 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information, please call Craig Winyard, Press Officer to Bill Etheridge MEP, on 07881 660941 or 01902 664670. 
MEP demands apology from Council chief over offensive rant 
 
Issue Date: Monday, December 8 2014 
 
A West Midlands MEP has called on the Leader of Sandwell Council to apologise after making an “outrageous and offensive rant” over UKIP and immigration. 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is today demanding an apology from Sandwell Council Leader Darren Cooper who used a BBC TV interview, focusing on the issue of regionalisation, as an opportunity to make a vile slur about UKIP. 
 
Appearing on BBC’s Sunday Politics yesterday, Cllr Cooper, when interviewed on the ongoing controversy over moves to create a combined Birmingham and Black Country authority, the Labour leader “exploited his appearance” on the programme to make a disgusting jibe. 
 
The programme included coverage of UKIP’s recent Hands off Birmingham, Hands off Black Country protest in Dudley but interviewed over this Cllr Cooper sniped: “It makes a change, doesn’t it, to actually hear UKIP discussing something else other than bashing immigrants”. 
 
Following the interview, Sedgley Councillor and UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said he was incensed by Cllr Cooper’s comment. 
 
He said: “I am now demanding an apology from Cllr Cooper. His outrageous and offensive rant is beneath contempt. 
 
NEW DUDLEY COUNCIL CHIEF CHALLENGED OVER ZERO-HOUR CONTRACTS 
 
 
Issue Date: Friday, December 5 2014 
 
 
West Midlands Bill Etheridge has challenged the new leader of Dudley Council over zero-hour contracts. 
 
UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has today demanded that Cllr Peter Lowe should make his position clear on the issue as, in July, UKIP Cllr Dean Perks exposed that fact that Labour-run Dudley Council employed almost 200 non-school staff on zero hour contracts. 
 
On the website of Cllr Lowe, the Dudley Leader was pictured with Mr Austin and Labour Leader Ed Miliband bolding displaying a poster on the “cost of living crisis” under David Cameron. 
 
The website posting on Cllr Lowe's website, dated November 17, carries the headline “Announced: a Labour Government will ban harmful zero hour contracts”. 
 
As Cllr Lowe is now Leader of Dudley Council, Sedgley Councillor Bill Etheridge has challenged issued this challenge: “ban these contracts or forever be branded a hypocrite”. 
 
Commenting today, Bill Etheridge, said: “Cllr Lowe is pictured on the website saying he is against zero hour contracts. 
 
“Now he is leader of the authority I want to ask him if he will take action and eradicate the exploitive practice of using zero hour contracts? 
 
“For a Labour-run authority to advocate the ‘living wage’ and then employ staff on zero hour contracts shows the Labour Party is hypocritical in the extreme. 
 
“Come on Cllr Lowe, where do you stand on this? Are you going to put the interests of the people of Dudley before media spin?” 
 
 
Weblink to posting: 
 
 
 
http://www.pete4stourbridge.com/6_months_to_win 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Spice up your life evening raises more than £1,000 for Black Country charity 
 
Issue Date: Friday, December 5 2014 
 
Pictured: (left) Arwyn Jones, Chief Executive of Beacon Centre for the Blind, receiving the £1,050 at Lime Restaurant in Sedgley. 
 
A worthy cause in the Black Country has received a whopping cheque for more than £1,000 after food lovers spiced up their lives by enjoying fantastic food and music at a popular restaurant in Sedgley. 
 
Beacon Centre for the Blind have been presented with a bumper cheque for £1,050 thanks to a fundraising night held at Lime Restaurant in High Holborn. 
 
The night, organised by local Sedgley Councillor and West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, boasted sumptuous five course meals and music. 
 
Arwyn Jones, Chief Executive of Beacon Centre for the Blind, said: “I would like to say at massive thank you to Bill and all the staff at Lime Restaurant for organising the event. Everyone had a lovely time. 
 
“Beacon Centre for the Blind based at Sedgley has been providing services for visually since 1875. Currently some 20,000 people in Wolverhampton and Dudley live with sight loss, a figure that will double by 2050. 
 
“Beacon services range from training and support to help gain employment, to our Activeyes programme of social events in the community including gardening, coffee mornings, book clubs, and more active events such as walks, climbing, water skiing, and to sports from goalball to archery and even cricket and golf. 
 
“It provides an inclusive programme of leisure and social activities that is open to all with sight loss. The aim is to help local visually impaired people be independent, be confident and comfortable in accessing local leisure and entertainment venues, and feel a valued and active member of the community.” 
 
Bill Etheridge said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to all those who supported the fundraising event at the Limes. It was a great evening and we look forward to organising future events in aid of charity.” 
 
Activeyes is now selling tickets for our Activeyes Jingle Bells Bash, on Saturday 13th December at Beacon Centre. Festivities begin at 7.30 with sleighs at Midnight, Tickets £10. 
 
Enjoy an evening of dancing, festive food and fun, take part in our Christamas Quiz or try your luck in our Yule Tide raffle to win a fantastic hamper. 
 
For those dressing up there will be a prize for the best festive outfit and hopefully there will be a visit from Santa himself. Contact Tim Jukes or Mandy Stevens on 01902 880111 for tickets. 
 
ENDS 
 
 
 
 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Dudley’s Labour Group acted like a rabid pack of dogs during combined authority debate sham 
 
Issue date: Wednesday, December 4 2014 
 
UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has accused Dudley Council’s “red” ruling group, and its new leader, of acting like a “rabid pack of dogs” during a “sham debate” during which the future of democracy in the Black Country took centre stage. 
 
Bill Etheridge said the Labour Party’s lurch to the left is a major threat to the borough’s future and is also putting the very identities of Birmingham and the Black Country in jeopardy. 
 
Mr Etheridge believes the Labour Party, and its Leader Peter Lowe, put grandstanding before the future of the West Midlands and plans, opposed by UKIP, to create a combined Birmingham and Black Country authority. 
 
Commenting today, he said the behaviour of Labour, and particularly its leader Cllr Peter Lowe, showed the red party is unfit to govern Dudley Council. 
 
Mr Etheridge said: “I believe on his first night as leader of the council Cllr Lowe brought the office into disrepute by hiding the truth about a combined authority, behind grandstanding and personal abuse of UKIP Councillors. 
 
“Cllr Peter Lowe’s behaviour at Full Council was completely inappropriate, immature and unprincipled. 
 
“It was deeply disappointing from an individual in a position of authority. He has put his political career above the interests of the people of Dudley. 
 
“I believe serious questions need to be asked about the role of the Mayor who at Full Council was incapable of chairing the meeting and the Labour Party rabble which acted like a rabid pack of dogs. 
 
“With the appointment of a town ambassador is this reflection of a Mayor unable to fulfil her paid duties?” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Brownfield development calls amid fears of a breeze block Britain 
 
 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, December 2 2014 
 
 
 
A UKIP MEP has today accused the Government of depriving future generations of having a green inheritance after unveiling ruinous plans to create waste swathes of new housing developments in the countryside. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge says the Government’s “aggressive anti-countryside agenda” could threaten the countryside and lead to a “breeze block Britain”. 
 
The Government is poised to announce in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement plans to develop a ‘garden city’ in the Home Counties. 
 
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in pushing the Garden City’s concept and said he hopes the envisaged city development in Bicester could be the first in “another wave” in garden cities in Britain. 
 
But figures obtained from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) by West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, show the folly of the controversial and ill-conceived plans. 
 
National figures show 970,000 homes could be developed on suitable brownfield land which is crying out for regeneration. 
 
More localised figures for the four Black Country boroughs reveal that sufficient brownfield land is available to meet their housing needs for the next 20 years. 
 
In Dudley alone there are 288 acres of brownfield land available which would be suitable for housing. 
 
Commenting today West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “The Government’s aggressive anti-countryside agenda flies in the face of logic. Why despoil the countryside when there are brownfield sites begging for redevelopment? 
 
“In Dudley alone hundreds of acres of brownfield land is available. UKIP is the only party that stands up for our green belt and green spaces. I don’t want to see a breeze block Britain. 
 
“Nick Clegg wants to see a new wave of so-called garden cities. This is sheer folly and instead we should see a stream of suitable brownfield development to help solve our housing crisis. Future generations should not be denied a green inheritance,” he added. 
 
 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
No ifs, no buts, impotent successive Government have been powerless to control mass immigration 
 
Issue date: Wednesday, November 26 2014 
 
´No ifs, no buts´ impotent successive Governments' inability to have control over Britain`s borders has been laid bare by the findings of a new reports - two West Midlands MEPs have said today. 
 
UKIP West Midlands MEPs Bill Etheridge and James Carver today said it is time for action not rhetoric over the issue of mass uncontrolled immigration following the publication of a new report which shows the true impact of Britain´s open door policy. 
 
MigrationWatch UK has reported that the impact of immigration was underestimated by more than 1.3million people and the think-tank's study estimated that net migration accounted for 84 per cent of Britain's population growth between 2001 and 2012. 
 
The report was hugely critical of official statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which substantially understated the true impact of immigration. 
 
MigrationWatch UK has warned that even if net immigration is reduced to 165,000 people a year, then ten new cities the size of Birmingham will be need to accommodate the growing population. 
 
The think-tank's findings come just days after the Home Secretary Theresa May admitted it was unlikely that the Government would hit its target to cut net migrations to under 100,000 a year and the study comes ahead of tomorrow's release of new ONS migration figures for 2013. 
 
Commenting on the MigrationWatch UK study today, West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: "Clearly this situation cannot be sustained. Our under-pressure public services are already great strain. It is time for action on this issue not spin and rhetoric." 
 
"Wage levels have also been supressed and we are seeing many hard working people on exploitative zero hour contracts." 
 
Fellow West Midlands MEP James Carver, said: "The Home Secretary has admitted that the Government was likely to fail to deliver its no ifs no buts pledge on migration. 
 
"It is true to say, and there are no ifs or buts about it, the only way we can have control over our own borders is for us to leave the EU. UKIP is not anti-immigration we are against uncontrolled immigration." 
 
ENDS 
 
For further information please call Craig Winyard, Press & Communications Manager to Bill Etheridge and James Carver, on 07881 660941. 
MAJOR PROTEST TO BE STAGED IN PROTEST AGAINST COMBINED AUTHORITY PLAN 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, November 25 2014 
 
 
West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge are urging people from across the region to attend a major protest against plans to create a combined Birmingham and Black Country authority. 
 
UKIP MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge will are calling on Black Country and Birmingham folk to attend the protest in Dudley on December 1 and in turn send out a message to the political leaders of other parties “Hands off Birmingham and Hands off the Black Country”. 
 
Mr Carver and Mr Etheridge, UKIP’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Dudley North, are totally opposed to the creation of a combined authority – an EU-led regionalisation drive which the MEPs say is an anti-democratic “Labour Party Stitch Up” which will damage the district identities of Birmingham and the Black Country. 
 
The “Hands off Birmingham, Hands off the Black Country” protest will take place outside Dudley Council House at 5.15pm on December 1, ahead of the planned Full Council meeting later that evening. 
 
James Carver MEP said: “This EU-led regionalisation push is a huge threat to the identities of both Birmingham and the Black Country and I urge people to attend this protest and in turn send out a message to those who want to see the establishment of this colossal combined authority. 
 
“This whole idea is a Labour Party stitch as it is the Labour-run authorities in Walsall, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Birmingham who want to sign away our local democracies to create a combined authority. Our message is clear on this – hands off Birmingham and hands off the Black Country.” 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP said: “This protest will mark the launch of our concerted campaign against regionalisation and a combined authority. 
 
“We don’t want to see the centralisation of power. We believe local people should have a real say, at a localised level, about issues that concern them. The shift of power away from the people will deeply damage local democracy and accountability. UKIP will fight this.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR JAMES CARVER MEP AND BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941. 
Labour Party in a catfight over police front desk cuts 
 
Issue date: Wednesday, November 19th 2014 
 
West Midlands MEPs Bill Etheridge and James Carver say the crisis-hit Labour Party should be ashamed over the proposed cuts to front desks at police stations across the region. 
 
The UKIP MEPs, believe the Labour Party should apologise for the forthcoming cuts and front desk closures and have accused the party of being in complete turmoil over the “deeply worrying” issue. 
 
Bill Etheridge, who stood as UKIP’s candidate in the 2012 West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner election, and fellow West Midlands MEP James Carver, fear the cuts announced this week by Labour’s Police & Crime Commissioner, will severely impact on services provided to the public. 
 
They also said the Labour Party was now in an embarrassing “catfight” over the cuts as Labour party politicians including MPs Ian Austin in Dudley North and Emma Reynolds in Wolverhampton North East, said they would be writing to the Crime Commissioner to call on him to reverse his plans. 
 
Commenting today, both Bill Etheridge and James Carver said Labour MPs across the region were behaving with “faux fury” as it is Labour that is implementing the cuts. 
 
Bill Etheridge, who lives in Sedgley, said: “Locally I will see the closure the front desk at Dudley police station and a reduction in opening hours to the public at Sedgley police station which is a stone’s throw from my house. 
 
“Labour is in complete turmoil and I believe people like Ian Austin are issuing statements of faux fury to capture cheap headlines. 
 
“Let’s not forget who is behind this retrograde restructuring – it is Labour. The red party can scrap over this all they like and produce as many petitions they like but at the end of the day they are forgetting the people.” 
 
James Carver MEP, said: “I am appalled by these cuts and the Labour Party should be ashamed. 
 
“The thin blue line just got thinner and while the Labour party row amongst itself – and while many of its MPs attempting to make political capital out of this whole sorry affair, our communities, will be gravely hit by these foolhardy cuts. 
 
“Bill and I will continue to put the people first by fighting this worrying reduction to our services.” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP AND JAMES CARVER, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Bostin’ Bash in Bilston in aid of Compton Hospice 
 
Issue date: Wednesday, November 19th 2014 
 
A Bostin’ bash, boasting a top double-bill of top artistes, will be raising the roof with music at a major venue in the Black Country next month to raise much needed funds for a local cause. 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP is holding a ‘Bosting Bash’ at the Bilston Robin 2 to raise cash for Compton Hospice. 
 
The event, will be held at the venue in Mount Pleasant, from 7.30pm on Tuesday, December 9th, and all proceeds from the night will go to Compton Hospice. 
 
Jenny Jones, from BBC’s The Voice, will be performing on the evening along with Look-In Back who will be presenting the ultimate 1970s pop experience. 
 
Bill Etheridge, said “This is a brilliant way to get the community together and in turn raise funds for one of our local charities, I hope to see you there.” 
 
For a fun filled night of 1970’s style music, provided by Look-in Back the ultimate 1970’s pop experience, joined by Jenny Jones from BBC’s The Voice, please contact Craig Winyard for tickets on 01902 664670 or e-mail to craigukip@yahoo.co.uk. 
 
Tickets are just £10 each with proceeds going to the charity. 
 
Event is at: Bilston Robin 2, Mt. Pleasant, Bilston, WV14 7LJ. Starting at 7.30pm on the 9th December. 
 
ENDS 
 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL JENNIFER HILL, ASSISTANT PRESS OFFICER BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 01902 664670. 
Debate demand following war of words on social media over the NHS 
 
 
Issue date: Monday, November 17 2014 
 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has thrown down the gauntlet to Dudley North MP Ian Austin after war of words erupted between the pair on social media. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has challenged Mr Austin to a head to head debate over the NHS and immigration. 
 
Mr Austin has claimed, both on social media sites such as Twitter, and in the press, that UKIP would privatise the NHS despite UKIP’s national party policy clearly stating the purple party’s total commitment to safeguarding a free NHS. 
 
UKIP would also not charge people to see a GP and would also scrap hospital car parking charges in England. 
 
Earlier today Bill Etheridge issued a challenge on Twitter to Mr Austin demanding that the MP sets a date for a showdown debate. 
 
In his Tweet today Bill said: “Bill Etheridge‏@BillDudleyNorth 49m49 minutes ago 
 
I am starting a campaign to get @IanAustinMP to face me in public debate to justify his appalling comments about #UKIP and the NHS. 
 
 
In another Tweet Mr Etheridge branded Mr Austin a “disgraceful liar” and said he was “unfit for office and should be ashamed” (please see the Tweet and further Tweets for your information below). 
 
Bill Etheridge ‏@BillDudleyNorth 9h9 hours ago 
 
@IanAustinMP you are a disgraceful liar who is unfit for office you should be ashamed #UKIP @ExpressandStar @YamYam_Dudley @sunpoliticsmids 
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Ian AustinVerified account ‏@IanAustinMP Nov 13 
I've sent this to the press because people need to know UKIP wld make them take out expensive insurance 4 healthcare http://www.ianaustin.co.uk/austin_farage_comments_show_russells_hall_not_safe_with_ukip … 
 
 
 
0 replies . 12 retweets 7 favourites 
 
 
 
Reply 
 
 
 
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12:08 pm - 13 Nov 2014 
 
 
Bill Etheridge 
 
9 hrs · Sedgley · 
 
I am sick of the lies from Ian Austin MP. I demand he faces me in a public debate. His latest repulsive lies about UKIP policy on the NHS combined with his lies about his views on immigration are a step too far. Please join me in calling this appalling con man out to face the music. Please contact the local media backing my calls for him to face me in public debate. 
 
Speaking today, following the Twitter row, Mr Etheridge, who is also a Sedgley Councillor, said: “Come on Mr Austin. Either put up or shut up. Have you got the guts to face me in a debate? 
 
“Just set a date and let’s have a face to face debate on issues such as immigration and the NHS. Mr Austin you are trying to frighten people over the NHS by misleading them by saying UKIP would privatise it. 
 
“Nothing could be further from the truth. We are totally committed to ensuring that the NHS is free at the point of delivery at a time of need for all UK residents. 
 
“Labour’s, and indeed Mr Austin’s, hypocrisy over the NHS is staggering as it was Labour that introduced backdoor privatisation through hospital PFIs. 
 
“UKIP opposes plans to charge patients for visiting their doctor and we would also scrap hospital car parking charges in England. 
 
“Furthermore, Mr Austin’s hypocrisy over the issue of immigration also knows no bounds as, as the General Election draws near, he has taken an ever UKIP line on the subject. 
 
“He is a political chameleon and his disgraceful behaviour is doing the people of Dudley North a disservice. I believe he is unfit for office. 
 
“My mother had cancer around 15 years ago and her life was saved by the NHS. That’s why I am so outraged and appalled by Mr Austin’s repellent comments”, added Mr Etheridge. 
 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
 
 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Combined authority could pave way to congestion charging on our roads and charging for waste collection – warns MEP 
 
#LabourPartyStitchUp 
 
Issue date: Friday, November 14 2014 
 
A combined Black Country and Birmingham authority could set us on a dangerous road leading to the introduction of congestion charging for private cars in urban centres. 
 
In a stinging attack, the MEP, who is a member of EU’s Committee on Regional Development (REGI), said the “Labour Party stitch up” to create a combined authority, is part of a road map to introduce congestion charging and also charges for waste collection. 
 
Mr Etheridge said the idea of city regions comes from the EU and is tied into their Cities 2020 Targets which has been raised in the REGI Committee in Brussels. 
 
The Cities 2020 project sets a number of targets in five key areas comprising; 
 
Five headline targets 
 
To monitor the progress made and quantify the objectives to be met by 2020, five headline targets have been agreed at EU level which are translated into national targets within each EU country, reflecting different situations and circumstances. 
 
Europe 2020 Targets at EU level; 
 
1. Employment • 75% of 20-64 year-olds to be employed. 
 
2. R&D / innovation 
• 3% of the EU’s GDP (public and private combined) to be invested in R&D/innovation 
 
3. Climate change/energy 
• Greenhouse gas emissions 20% lower than 1990 (or even 30%, if the conditions are right) 
• 20% of energy from renewables 
• 20% increase in energy efficiency 
 
4. Education 
• Reducing school drop-out rates below 10% 
• At least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing tertiary education 
 
5. Reducing poverty and social exclusion 
• Lifting at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and social exclusion. 
 
In order to achieve the environmental targets the controversial EU 
report calls for; 
 
• Congestion charging for private car use in urban centres; 
• Charging for commercial and domestic waste collection and disposal. 
 
Commenting today, UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: "This whole undemocratic ’Labour Party stitch up’ will plunge a dagger into the heart of our local democracy. 
 
"Not only that but we now find out it will lead to hard working taxpayers being penalised with extra taxes under the direct instructions of the EU. 
 
"It’s bad enough that our own government saddles us with extra taxation to fit barmy EU green policies but to have more taxes imposed on us from Brussels is totally unacceptable. 
 
"I urge all of the people of the West Midlands to fight this appalling scheme. I am warning people to not be conned by this Labour Party stitch up", 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Campaign to be launched to save Black Country and Birmingham identities 
 
 
 
Issue date: Friday, November 7 2014 
 
A major campaign is being launched to protect the identities of Birmingham and the Black Country from the threat posed by the possible creation of a centralised combined Greater Birmingham council authority. 
 
UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has today pledged to fight with all his might to secure the unique identities of Birmingham and the Black Country by fighting controversial moves envisaging the creation of a “combined authority.” 
 
Labour authorities such as Dudley and Sandwell have already expressed an appetite for the establishment of such a supra authority but West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, who lives in the Dudley borough and is a Sedgley ward Councillor, believes the creation of such a body would leave a sour taste in the mouths of proud Brummies and Black Country folk alike. 
 
The MEP, who is a member of the EU’s Committee on Regional Development (REGI), spoke in the European Parliament in Brussels this week about his concerns. 
 
During his intervention in Brussels yesterday, Mr Etheridge, questioned Eurocrats on whether such greater “integration of domestic planning” could damage local democratic independence and indeed, as part of this regionalisation agenda, on how the creation Greater Birmingham authority would be met with great opposition from the people of Birmingham and the Black Country. 
 
Mr Etheridge will be holding a series of public meetings on the topic in the coming months as part of his campaign to protect the identity of our distinct Black Country and Birmingham areas from greater centralisation. 
 
The West Midlands MEP has today rounded on Sandwell Council Leader Cllr Darren Cooper and Dudley Council leader Cllr David Sparks for supporting the creation of a combined authority. 
 
Mr Etheridge said: “Today, marks the launch of a major fight to protect the proud identities of the Black Country and Birmingham from the threat of greater centralisation. 
 
“Birmingham and the Black Country are just that, they are Birmingham and the Black Country not just some centralised entity. Each has their own character and the priority should be increased local accountability and democracy not more unnecessary centralisation. 
 
“I will be holding a series of public meetings on this overt EU-led threat to our local identities and communities. I urge people to join my campaign and stand up for Birmingham and stand up for the Black Country. 
 
“I am extremely worried more power will be taken away from the people by a supra authority. I am Black Country and proud and will fight the Labour Party in its ruinous drive to erase the Black Country identity. 
 
 
 
ENDS 
 
 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
MEP BLASTS ‘LABOUR PARTY’ STITCH UP OVER COMBINED AUTHORITIES AS HE ALSO RULES OUT STANDING TO BECOME BRUM’S ELECTED MAYOR 
 
 
 
Issue Date: Friday, November 7 2014. 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has today ruled himself out of standing to become Birmingham’s elected mayor and has accused the Tories of acting against the will of the people by calling for the creation of the post. 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge is totally against the creation of a role which was strongly rejected by Brummies in 2012. 
 
Mr Etheridge has also vehemently attacked the agreement between Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Sandwell local authorities to commit to establishing a new combined authority and described the anti-democratic move as a “Labour Party stitch up”. 
 
Commenting today Mr Etheridge, said he feared that local democracy in the West Midlands was under a “two-pronged attack”. 
 
He said: “What we are seeing with the calls for an elected mayor in Birmingham and the creation of a Greater Birmingham authority is a two-pronged attack on local democracy. 
 
“The people of Birmingham voted against having an elected mayor in 2012. Also there are grave concerns that the proud and distinct identities for both Birmingham and the Black Country could be severely eroded by the creation of this combined authority. 
 
“I will not stand for elected mayor as the people of Birmingham made their position clear – we don’t want one thank you. 
 
“On the issue of the combined authority. I think it is a Labour Party stitch up. I am very proud to be a Black Country man and I will not stand idly by while politicians betray our heritage for the sake of grabbing even more centralised power for themselves. 
 
“This is typical of the Labour Party seeking to concentrate power over the people by moving the centre of power further away from people. 
 
“We in UKIP will fight every step of the way to save our Black Country identity and stop this power grab.” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL CRAIG WINYARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
Dudley tops Britain’s list as worst place to go shopping 
 
 
 
Issue Date: Wednesday, November 5 2014 
 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has blasted successive administrations in Dudley following the publication of a damning new report which says the town is the worst in Britain to go shopping. 
 
The UKIP MEP, who a Sedgley ward Councillor and is the party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Dudley North, says the findings of the new Harper Dennis Hobbs (HDH) report makes for grim reading. 
 
HDH’s Vitality Index is based, not only on the percentage of vacant units, but also on the presence of so-called “out of fashion” retail tenants which they say comprise of businesses such as betting shops, pay-day loan stores and amusement arcades. 
 
The report notes that Dudley has suffered from strong competition since the Merry Hill Shopping Centre was opened. 
 
Commenting on the report Bill Etheridge MEP, said: “Dudley has endured years of neglect and a lack of imagination by successive ruling administrations. They have been badly let down the people of Dudley. 
 
“When I was a youngster my nan used to take me to Dudley as a treat. We used to have quite a day of it walking around the market and popping into Woolworths for a pick ‘n’ mix. 
 
“In those days Dudley was the pride of the Black Country with a thriving local retail sector. It makes me desperately unhappy to see our once proud town featured at the top of a list of shame of places to go shopping. It’s time to look for change and a fresh start for Dudley.” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD MEDIA & COMMUINCATIONS MANAGER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 01902 664670 OR 07881 660941. 
MEP invited to crunch meeting to secure future of under threat pub 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, November 4 2014 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has been invited to attend a crunch meeting with brewery bosses as the fight continues to save a closure-threatened Black Country pub. 
 
Bill Etheridge, will meet with fellow Save the Seven Stars’ campaigners and bosses at Marston’s. 
 
Mr Etheridge and representatives of his office team, who are members of the Save the Seven Stars Committee, have been invited to Friday’s meeting after the MEP successfully secured Asset of Community Value (ACV) status for the popular Seven Stars Pub, in Gospel End Road. 
 
The status secures the short-term future of the pub and Mr Etheridge believes the significant move has forced Marston’s to take note of the ongoing and concerted campaign which has been supported by the MEP from its inaugural meeting at his office in High Holborn. 
 
Mr Etheridge said: “My office team and I are pleased to be invited to the meeting where we will ensure the views of local people are heard. From the inaugural meeting we have seen the campaign develop and we were proud to secure the ACV status for the pub. 
 
“We will continue to work with all parties involved and hope Marston’s truly listens to local people who want to see the popular venue to remain in its current form as a pub and not as a supermarket as is being proposed contrary to what many residents in the area want. 
 
“We are glad that other political parties have joined us in the fight to save the Seven Stars pub. This issue should be above party politics.” 
 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD MEDIA & COMMUINCATIONS MANAGER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 01902 664670 OR 07881 660941. 
LABOUR’S DUDLEY NORTH MP APOLOGY CALLS BRANDED LAUGHABLE 
 
Issue Date: Monday, November 3 2014 
 
UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has slated Dudley North MP Ian Austin for his comments over the weekend on the issue of mass immigration. 
 
Mr Etheridge, said: “For Ian Austin to have the nerve to say, after nine years as an MP with many of them as an aide to Gordon Brown, that he is sorry for Labour’s policy on immigration is laughable. 
 
“Mr Austin is a political chameleon. He says one thing one minute then the total reverse the next. He talks tough on immigration as the electoral threat of UKIP breathes down his hypocritical neck but this is the same man who voted for the Lisbon Treaty and for mass immigration. 
 
“In fact the more you look at his voting record the more you realise how he letting down the people of Dudley North. He failed to vote recently on the recall bill and failed to vote on HS2 and on the EU referendum bill. 
 
“He is an invisible MP who he hiding behind tough words. Talk is cheap. Mr Austin says Labour should apologise for the mistakes they made over immigration. 
 
“Well Mr Austin "sorry" is not good enough. Saying sorry doesn't solve the problems with housing, health care, school places or depressed wages for working people. 
 
“As I say, Mr Austin is a political chameleon and his statements are increasingly UKIP purple and not Labour red.” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 01902 664670 OR 07881 660941. 
 
IAN AUSTIN MP branded the “grand illusionist” over immigration and the EU 
 
Issue Date: Thursday, October 16 2014 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge says a local Labour MP is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of the Black Country by making anti-EU statements which are out of kilter of his own party’s beliefs. 
 
MEP Bill Etheridge, has today branded Ian Austin MP a “grand illusionist”. 
 
Earlier this week, Dudley North MP Ian Austin called for fingerprint checks for migrants and for the Government to ‘get a grip’ on borders. 
 
But, reacting to Mr Austin’s comments today, Mr Etheridge, who is also a Councillor representing the Sedgley ward, said the Labour Party Member of Parliament was only talking tough on issues such as immigration and the EU due to the clear electoral threat posed by UKIP in Dudley North and nationally. 
 
Mr Etheridge, commented: “Mr Austin’s statements on the EU and immigration are at complete odds with what his own pro-EU Party believes. 
 
“He is a grand illusionist as he wants to stay in the EU. We cannot control our own borders while we are in the EU and he knows it. What other tricks has he got up his sleeve? 
 
“Mr Austin is clearly panicking as the UKIP people’s army is on the march. Only UKIP can deliver real immigration controls by removing us from EU and taking control back of our borders.” 
 
ENDS  
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 01902 664670 OR 07881 660941. 
 
 
New dates for MEP/Councillor surgeries announced 
 
Issue Date: Friday, October 10th 2014 
 
Local MEP and Sedgley Councillor Bill Etheridge has announced a string of dates for his MEP and Councillor surgeries. 
 
The dates and times for his councillor and MEP surgeries are: 
 
•Friday, November 14th – 11am – 1pm; 
 
 
•Friday, November 21st – 11am – 1pm; 
 
 
•Friday, December 5th – 11am – 1pm. 
 
The surgeries will be held at the Office of Bill Etheridge MEP, 2 High Holborn, Sedgley, Dudley, DY3 1SR. 
 
Cllr Bill Etheridge MEP, said: “I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to meet and engage with the people of Sedgley in order to make our beautiful area into an even better place for all. 
 
“If you have a local issue or concern please come along to one of my forthcoming surgeries.” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL JENNIFER HILL, ASSISTANT PRESS OFFICER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 01902 664670. 
Calls for clamp down on illegal and inconsiderate parking in Sedgley 
 
Issue Date: Friday, October 10 2014 
 
OUTRAGED residents living near to two primary schools in the Black Country are demanding for action to be taken to clamp down on illegal and inconsiderate parking. 
 
Angry residents living near Alder Coppice Primary and Cotwall End Primary schools have complained to UKIP MEP and Sedgley Councillor Bill Etheridge about parents who regularly obstruct driveways to their homes. 
 
Residents in the Northway have been told that they would have to stump up £85 each for white lines to be painted at the end of their drive which would deter motorists from parking in front of driveways. 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP said the ongoing saga needs to be addressed and is now in contact with Dudley Council in a bid to get further enforcement of existing obstruction laws. 
 
In the case of Cotwall End Road Dudley Council has confirmed that they will consider the area for public consultation on the possibility of putting double yellow lines down the road – but amazingly the local authority say this cannot be done for up to three years. 
 
Commenting today Bill Etheridge said: “At certain times of the day these roads are complete carnage. Driveways are blocked illegally by inconsiderate motorists and parents with pushchairs find it difficult to negotiate pavements due to vehicles. 
 
“This matter needs to be urgently addressed – so I was amazed when Dudley Council reported that the matter could not be dealt with until 2016/17. Surely it should not take so long for even Dudley Council to look into this long-running issue. 
 
“I will continue to work with local residents to ensure a resolution is found. I call on Dudley Council to prioritise this matter. 
 
Aimee Smallman, a Northway resident, said: “Not only is it an inconvenience for the residents of the street, it is also a major hazard to other road users. 
 
“Lack of consideration by these individuals is causing a bottle neck on a busy road making it impossible for a normal flow of traffic which could ultimately result in an accident or worse. 
 
“When all is said and done these people would not like it if this was happening outside their houses so why should they do it to someone else.” 
 
ENDS 
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL CRAIG WINYARD, MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER TO BILL ETHERIDGE MEP, ON 07881 660941 OR 01902 664670. 
UKIP makes history in Clacton – Bill Etheridge MEP reacts to “extraordinary results”. 
 
Issue Date: Friday, October 10 2014 
 
"Ukip has made history with a pair of extraordinary results running labour to within a whisker in one of their safest seats in the country and thrashing the Tories in one of their safest seats in the south of England by an amazing margin. 
 
"The hollow words and insults of the old parties no longer matter the ukip momentum is unstoppable. 
 
“It is now absolutely clear and undeniable that a vote for ukip can and will bring a Ukip victory anywhere in the country. 
 
"With regard to many seats in the West Midlands and particularly my own target of Dudley North the only way to defeat the Labour Party and keep Ed Miliband out of Downing Street is to vote Ukip.” 
Hospital bosses blasted over ‘creeping privatisation’ 
 
Issue date: Thursday, September 25 2014 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge and Wordsley Councillor Paul Brothwood have reacted angrily to news that hospital bosses are planning to blow £50 million on a new IT system despite facing a forecast deficit of up £10 million by the end of the year. 
 
Dudley Group of Hospitals have announced plans to spend £50m on a new IT system of which many aspects of the new system were promised 14 years ago. 
 
Bosses are also looking to close the walk-in centre at Holly Hall Centre and open an urgent care centre (UCC) at Russell’s Hall Hospital which will be run by a private firm. 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge and Wordsley Councillor Paul Brothwood said it is was an outrage that there are currently two providers competing to privatise our local NHS. 
 
Twenty providers initially expressed an interest in providing the service as, due to the size of the contract, it had to be advertised throughout the European Union. 
 
Bill Etheridge MEP said: “UKIP, as a party, is completely against further privatisation of the NHS. I fear we are witnessing creeping privatisation of our healthcare services. 
 
“I am deeply concerned by the location of this new UCC centre due to the already excessive pressures on parking at Russell’s Hall hospital which we know is of major concern to local residents.” 
 
Cllr Paul Brothwood, who is a member of Dudley Council's Health and Scrutiny Committee, continued: “Yet again we are seeing our local services sold off to the private sector whilst our local NHS is in the red we can ill-afford expensive private contracts.” 
UKIP calls for local referendum on Dudley mosque plans 
 
Issue date: Monday, September 22 2014 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge and fellow Dudley councillors are calling on the local authority to hold a local referendum on plans to build a mosque in Hall Street. 
 
Sedgley councillor Bill Etheridge, who is also a UKIP MEP representing the West Midlands region, is pushing, along with fellow UKIP councillors in the Dudley borough, for a referendum to take place to gauge local people’s views on the proposed scheme. 
 
Mr Etheridge said: “We propose that Dudley Council hold a local referendum to decide whether or not the proposed new mosque on Hall Street should go ahead or not. 
 
“The costs of the referendum, although significant, should be set against the legal costs already incurred and potential future action involving the council and taxpayers’ money. 
 
“A referendum will not be legally binding so we need all interested parties, including the Conservatives, Labour, UKIP and the Dudley Muslim Association to sign up to the following commitment: 
 
“We agree to accept the will of the people of Dudley. 
 
“If the decision is YES we will not object to the proposal proceeding at any point and the mosque will be built with our support. 
 
“If the decision is NO we will work together with all interested parties to resolve this matter but the Hall Street site will never again be raised as a potential new mosque.” 
 
Mr Etheridge, commented: “UKIP national party policy expresses a clear commitment to giving people a true say on issues through holding local referendums. We want to see that happen here in Dudley.” 
“Put up or shut up JOIN UKIP” – MEP slaps down challenge to Dudley North MP 
 
Issue date: Wednesday, September 17 2014 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has today challenged Dudley North MP Ian Austin to join UKIP. 
 
Bill Etheridge, has pledged to hand deliver a UKIP membership to Mr Austin following a number of recent statements from the MP which are in line with UKIP policy. 
 
In June, Labour’s Ian Austin called for an EU referendum before the next election and in early August he spoke, on his website, of how, when the Labour Party was in Government, it had been “too late to understand and face up to the full impact of mass immigration on our communities, workplaces and public services”. 
 
On his website he goes on to state: "I think we were wrong not to impose transitional controls on Eastern European countries as they joined the EU, and I was the first MP calling for restrictions to be maintained. 
 
"But, the current Government haven’t got this right either. The number of people being deported has fallen sharply and there’s a growing backlog of suspected illegal immigration cases." 
 
On his website Mr Austin goes on to call for "tough action" to be taken to "get a grip" on illegal immigration. 
 
Today, Bill Etheridge has slapped down a challenge to Mr Austin to join UKIP as his political stance on the EU and mass immigration appears, from recent statements, identical to UKIP’s. 
 
Mr Etheridge said: "Mr Austin’s comments on the EU, and on the need to get a grip on illegal immigration, are totally in line with UKIP policy. 
 
"On his website he speaks of meeting local people and chatting to them on the topic of immigration. 
 
"He talks of zero hour contracts, mass immigration and measures such as an Australian-style points system for people coming here to work. 
 
"His statements on issues revolving around topics such as the EU and immigration read like a UKIP manifesto. His views are totally at odds with his own Europhile party. 
 
"I can assure Mr Austin that UKIP, despite what the Labour Party is incorrectly claiming, is totally against privatisation of the NHS. 
 
"I call on Mr Austin to come across and join UKIP and I pledge to hand deliver a membership form to him should he wish to ditch Labour. I ask Mr Austin - are you purple or are you red?" 
 
Notes to editors: Please see weblink below to Mr Austin's comments online. 
 
http://www.ianaustin.co.uk/dudley_chronicle_29_may 
MEP hopes ‘baby jag’ will be a roaring success for the West Midlands 
 
Issue date: Thursday, September 11 2014 
 
 
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has welcomed the unveiling of the new Jaguar XE saloon which will be proudly produced in the region. 
 
The UKIP MEP was invited to Earl’s Court in London earlier this week to attend the high-profile, multi-million pound, launch of the luxury car which will roll off the assembly line in Solihull. 
 
Jaguar Land Rover drafted in a host of stars, including the Kaiser Chiefs, Eliza Doolittle, Emeli Sande and actor John Hannah, to launch the hugely important car which has been developed to take on vehicles such as BMW’s 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class. 
 
Following the launch, UKIP West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, said: “I was proud to have been invited to attend the amazing launch of this very impressive car. 
 
“The car will boast a Wolverhampton-built engine and will roll off the assembly line in Solihull. 
 
“I believe the development of the XE is fantastic news for Solihull and the region’s automotive industry as a whole.” 
Patronising EU guidance should be toast 
 
Issue Date: Monday, September 8 2014 
 
West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge say the meddling EU are cooking up trouble in the kitchen after issuing advice on how to cook toast. 
 
The UKIP MEPs say interfering Eurocrats are clearly one sandwich short of a picnic after issuing a health warning over well cooked toast. 
 
EU watchdog the European Food Agency has this week warned that toast should be eaten only when it is a light brown colour or it could increase the risk of cancer. 
 
A draft report has concluded acrylamide, a chemical that is produced naturally in food as a result of cooking starch-rich food at high temperatures, potentially increases the risk of cancer. 
 
Commenting on the EFA's guidance UKIP West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge said it was high time that the British Government used it loaf and leave the EU. 
 
Mr Carver said: "Common sense seems to have gone out of the window. We now live in an age when packets of peanuts carry warnings that they may contain nuts. 
 
"All the EU seems to do is meddle and interfer. Recently, Brussels' bureaucrats have gone from banning powerful vacumm cleaners to now telling us how we should cook our toast. It's just ludircrous." 
 
Mr Etheridge said: "It is time for the British Government to use its loaf and pull us out of the European Union. 
 
"Half-baked regulations are flooding out of Brussels at a phenomenal rate. Our legislation and laws should be made in Westminster not by meddling Eurocrats." 
WEST MIDLANDS MEPs FLYING THE FLAG FOR THE BLACK COUNTRY IN STRASBOURG 
 
Issue date: Wednesday, July 16 2014 
 
West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge are flying the flag for the Black Country in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. 
 
The UKIP MEPs have pledged to promote the Black Country area by flying the Black Country flag in the heart of the debating chamber in the Strasbourg parliament. 
 
Thousands of people have been celebrating the hugely successful Black Country Day, held on Monday, through a host of events which celebrate the area´s unique identity and heritage. 
 
To support the drive West Midlands MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge have proudly placed Black Country flags on their tables in the debating chamber in Strasbourg. 
 
James Carver MEP said: "The Black Country is a buzzing area that boasts a rich heritage. It´s uniqueness should be promoted and celebrated and Bill and myself will do our bit fly the Black Country flag in Strasbourg and Brussels. 
 
"Black Country Day has been a fantastic idea. It has brought communities together and money into the area." 
 
Fellow West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge MEP continued: "Black Country Day has been a bostin´ initiative. 
 
"We have a lot of be proud of in the Black Country. Our innovation in manufacturing is world renowned." 
 
Issue Date: Thursday, April 10th 2014 
 
UKIP Party Leader Nigel Farage to visit Dudley 
 
Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of Britain’s “Most Popular Party”, according to a Comres poll, will be paying a special visit to Dudley to attend a major public meeting in the town. 
 
UKIP Party Leader Nigel Farage will be speaking at the open public meeting which will be held at Dudley Concert Hall, in St James Road, (DY1 1HP), on Friday, April 25th. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. 
 
 READ MORE >>  
 
 
PRESS RELEASE 
 
UKIP WALSALL BRANCH 
 
Issue Date: Thursday, April 10th 2014 
 
UKIP launches three-pronged attack against Cons, Labour and Lib Dems. 
 
UKIP’s Walsall Branch has launched a three-pronged attack against the Tories, Labour Party and Liberal Democrats by selecting three Prospective Parliament Candidates (PPCs) to stand in the 2015 General Election. 
 
 READ MORE >>  
 
 
PRESS RELEASE 
 
UKIP WEST MIDLANDS 
 
Issue Date: Tuesday, April 8th 2014 
 
UKIP Deputy Leader to open new Party campaign shop in Sedgley 
 
UKIP’s European and local elections fight is intensifying with the launch of a new campaign shop in Sedgley. 
 
 READ MORE >>  
 
 
UKIP WEST MIDLANDS 
 
PRESS RELEASE 
 
'SPARKS' FLY OVER LABOUR PARTY CALLS FOR INTRODUCTION OF PARKING CHARGES AT MERRY HILL SHOPPING CENTRE. 
 
ISSUE DATE: Thursday, March 27 2014 
 
European Election candidate and Dudley resident Bill Etheridge has vehemently attacked the Labour Party for "whining" that the new owners of the Merry Hill Shopping Centre are not planning to introduce parking charges. 
 
 READ MORE >>  
 
 
Issue Date: Wednesday, March 26 2014 
 
Chance to quiz UKIP Deputy Leader at public meeting in Halesowen 
 
UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall MEP will be visiting the West Midlands next month to attend a public meeting in Halesowen. 
 
People from across the West Midlands are being urged to attend the public meeting which will be held at Hurst Green Family Church, in Masters Lane, Hurst Green (B62 9HD) on Wednesday, April 9th at 7.30pm. 
 
 READ MORE >>  
 
 
Issue date: Friday, March 7th 2014 
 
UKIP West Midlands Prospective European election candidate 
 
Bill Etheridge has pledged to “campaign hard” and, if elected in May’s European Elections, bring the campaign to Brussels. 
 
Bill Etheridge believes in the principles of Justice 4 the 21 who are fighting to bring the murderers to justice and to ensure the families who lost loved ones in the atrocity are never forgotten. 
 
 READ MORE >>  
 
 
PRESS RELEASE 
 
BILL ETHERIDGE - UKIP 
 
10th January 
 
TORY COUNCILLORS DEFECT TO UKIP IN A SIGN OF PARTY'S GROWTH 
 
Two Conservative Councillors on Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council have defected to UKIP in another sign of UKIP's increasing popularity in the West Midlands. 
 
Sitting Councillors Ken Turner and Hazel Turner have both switched to UKIP, as has former Council Cabinet member Adrian Turner, their son. 
 
 READ MORE >>  
 
 
Transport ‘double whammy’ shows no Christmas cheer 
 
Issue Date: Thursday, December 19 2013 
 
Transport bosses in the West Midlands are being called on to show some Christmas cheer by scrapping controversial plans to hike bus and tram fares and by putting a brake on moves which could cut the transport budget by £14 million. 
 
Transport chiefs in the Region are being challenged to give tram and bus passengers an early Christmas present by not delivering a ‘double whammy’ which could cut the transport budget by 10 per cent while fares would continue to rocket. 
 
 READ MORE >>  
 
 
UKIP MEP 
 
West Midlands Region - CANDIDATES NAMED 
 
1) Jill Seymour 
 
2) Jim Carver 
 
3) Bill Etheridge 
 
4) Phil Henrick 
 
5) Michael Wrench 
 
6) Mike Green 
 
7) Lyndon Jones 
 
 READ MORE >>  
 
 
I am very pleased to announce that I have been shortlisted as an MEP candidate for the West Midlands region in the 2014 European Elections 
 
I have a promotional video which can be viewed on YouTube; you can click the link below to watch it directly from the YouTube feed. 
 
 
 
Working Hard in the local Community 
 
There are two major issues troubling the people of the Dudley area more than any other at the moment. 
 
The changes to housing benefit which have led to the hated “Bedroom tax” have caused distress and concern for many people in our area. 
 
 READ MORE >>  
 
 
Press Release 7th August 2013 
 
Now that the Coseley East By Election has been called 
 
Thursday 19th September 2013 
 
UKIP have great pleasure in announcing that our candidate for this position is: Star Etheridge 
 
Mrs Etheridge is a very strong candidate and we are united as a branch in having supported her as the best candidate for the position. 
 
 READ MORE >>