Press release: Medway Green candidate stands up for migrants in heated debate

Clive Gregory, Green Party Rochester and Strood candidate took on Ashford UKIP candidate,  Gerald O’Brien, in a live debate on benefits for immigrants on Wednesday evening.  The debate, which was part of the Radio Kent programme “Never Mind the Ballots”  got fairly heated as the UKIP candidate described economic migration from the perspective of Lithuanian car cleaners, claimed that unemployment was a lifestyle choice and refused to acknowledge that the UKIP approach had been divisive. Topics discussed included freedom of movement, economic migration, training, unemployment and the NHS.

The full interview can be heard here (topic starts at 33.50 – Clive’s section is on at 39.43)

Clive Gregory says:

“It is not the case that migrant workers simply come here to do bottom end jobs.  Our NHS, for instance, would collapse if it were not for the skilled doctors and nurses from overseas who come here to work. We need to train local people to do local jobs, but if we are going to expand the NHS in the way that virtually all parties know we have to do, then we are still going to need workers to come in from abroad. We are not going to be able to train people fast enough to turn the NHS around without workers from other European countries and indeed other countries of the world.

“The Green Party would support immigrant workers in the same way that we support our own workers.  We have a lot of our own workers who are claiming benefits in Germany for example. About two million of us live in Europe and we are very grateful when it is our turn to use the various facilities, whether that be work or the retirement facilities. We believe in the principle of free movement of people around Europe.  It has done this continent a power of good to have people know each other, work with each other and benefit, both socially and financially, from one another, and we will certainly seek to continue to protect that situation”.

In the interview Clive Gregory drew attention to what he claimed was UKIP’s “policy to create divisive language”.   Mr Gregory said:

“It is UKIP’s policy, pretty much, to simply try and create divisive language all the way through, from blaming traffic jams on immigration, to all the faults in the NHS on immigration, to all the faults in housing on immigration, that’s the UKIP line.”

In the interview, Gerald O’Brien denied this claim, but admitted there had been “one or two clangers”.

Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader was also speaking out in defence of migrants yesterday.  Natalie Bennett who made a speech at the Kurdish community centre in North London said:

“My party will never blame migrants for failures of government policy, or the greed and fraud of the bankers. We will never attack the most vulnerable in society to distract from the inaction of the most powerful.”

A press release on Natalie Bennett’s speech and full text of her speech can be found here.

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