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Liveblog: Meet your local UKIP candidate Ben Roberts Q&A

Bauke Schram March 5 20156:36 pm

The River will liveblog and tweet during Lib Dem Ed Davey MP’s Q&A on March 12, which will probably focus on the LibDem’s tuition fee u-turn. Thank you for following us. We are leaving the Clattern Theatre as Roberts still has to deal with many questions from students.

Bauke Schram March 5 20156:34 pm

Thank you all for following this liveblog. It was an intense event and we are sure there will be many follow-up questions during the series’ Question Time on March 31.

Bauke Schram March 5 20156:33 pm

An emotional end to this Q&A, with many questions left unanswered. Multiple students have queued up to ask Roberts additional questions. Many students left uncontented.

Bauke Schram March 5 20156:32 pm

“I’m very upset, because the person Ben’s brought with him tonight said I did not do a good job organising this. I’m only 20 and I do this alongside three jobs,” Bush said.

The audience responses angrily, saying Bush did a great job.
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“How do I, as a black Muslim, fit in your little bubble of ‘British values’?” an audience member asks, receiving loud support from all other students.

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“I think the British track record on human rights is impeccable,” Roberts says. “You remember the Iraq war, right?” It comes from the audience.

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“UKIP completely want to withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights,” Roberts says. He says that this is due to the fact that it can override the English juridical  system.

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Roberts takes over from the organisation in assigning who can ask questions. Emotions run high in the room.

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The audience is critical and almost hostile towards Roberts, who is visibly more uncomfortable. The turn out for this event in the series of ‘meet your local candidate’ is by far the highest.

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An audience member says she is disgusted by Roberts’ ‘lesser of two evils’ idea, after Roberts said: “Would you rather have these people vote for BNP?”

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Roberts says that UKIP’s proposed ‘point system’ for immigration should look at jobs, healthcare security, contribution to society. Bush mentions that she is disgusted by the fact that UKIP does not want people to come into the UK who are HIV positive.

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Gaiger Roscoe, Bush (wearing a ‘t-shirt saying: I make it rain #Gayfloods’) and Roberts

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However, the audience comments on Nigel Farage and his sexist comments.

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As Roberts has distanced himself from racist and sexist UKIP members and candidates but an audience member asks him if he is not still supporting these people by running for UKIP.

Roberts: “No, because we suspend them.”

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Many questions are asked on UKIP’s policies. Read about the most controversial ones here

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Roberts ignores a question about Nigel Farage’s discomfort with women breastfeeding in public after he talks about women being “second class citizens in different parts of the world”.

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 A person in the audience asks “as a Celt, what are all these Anglo saxons doing here?” The audience member then calls Roberts stupid.

Bauke Schram March 5 20156:04 pm

Roberts does not answer directly when someone asks: “So you think art degrees should be scrapped?”

Bauke Schram March 5 20156:02 pm

Roberts prefers to answer this question in person. “I’ll take your contact details.” The audience becomes impatience and shows its impatience.

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Very critical questions are asked from the audience on UKIP’s free trade policies and the audience supports question.

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An audience member asks the question of the cookie analogy, which claims that bankers take 9 out of 10 cookies and UKIP tells people to ‘watch that immigrant, he is after your last cookie’.

Roberts sighs.

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Roberts talks ‘Tory defectors’, such as Reckless and Carswell.

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Roberts says that UKIP does not want to ‘ban immigration’. As expected, Social Wokers Society members are loud and vocal audience members.

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“UKIP blames immigration for traffic jams,” it comes from the audience. 

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Sharif asks why UKIP blames immigrants for problems in the economy (Roberts denies this), while “bankers caused the crisis.”

Bauke Schram March 5 20155:51 pm

Hamsa Mohamed Sharif, president of the Social Workers Society, asks if Roberts have a mirror after he criticised the fact that most MPs are white blokes.

Bauke Schram March 5 20155:50 pm

Roberts says that people who did not vote for UKIP in the European Parliament election have no right to scrutinise the fact that UKIP MEPs take payment from the European Parliament.

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“Let me explain that….”

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First question from the audience: “Nigel Farage is an MEP … how does he feel personally able to accept the payment from the EU, as an anti-EU party leader?” Roberts asks if there are any similar quesitons?

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Faith Gaiger-Roscoe has come forward to regulate the Q&A.

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Roberts says he ‘welcomes immigrants’. “DO YOU?” it sounds from the crowd.

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“The current immigration policy discriminates against our former commonwealth partners.” Roberts says that UKIP’s immigration policy is more ethical than the current one.

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Our UKIP candidate claims that almost everyone in this room would agree on the fact that an EU reform is needed.

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Roberts accuses Tories of ‘over-penalising’ non-EU immigrants…

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“It’s gone crazy,” Roberts says on immigration, defending UKIP’s policy.

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“Without immigration, this country would not exist.”

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“I want to tackle this subject head-on,” Roberts said, finally mentioning immigration.

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“We need people to me doing science, technology and maths degrees.” Roberts says he thinks there are too many degrees that do not provide students with anything more than a ‘piece of paper’.

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Roberts, who has taught 3rd and 5th grade in the past, focuses on UKIP’s education policies. He has not touched upon the EU or immigration policies yet.

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Roberts talks a lot about the ‘media circus’ surrounding UKIP. In the past, especially the BBC has been criticised over their disproportional UKIP coverage.

Bauke Schram March 5 20155:30 pm

Sylvester’s quote was up on the projector behind Roberts, and organiser Amy Clare Bush (who is the LGBT officer), is wearing a t-shirt saying #Gayfloods.

Bauke Schram March 5 20155:29 pm

Roberts calls David Sylvester, former UKIP councilor who claimed the floods last year were caused by God’s anger after the equal marriage act had become active, an ‘outright tit’.

Bauke Schram March 5 20155:28 pm

“The people I met were not the people in the headlines,” Roberts says. He thinks the media misrepresents UKIP as a party. 

The party has been accused of being homophobic, racist and xenophobic.

Bauke Schram March 5 20155:26 pm

One of the most important aspects of UKIP that party members often mention is the alleged small difference between left/right, Labour/Conservatives.

Bauke Schram March 5 20155:25 pm

Ben Roberts said that he thinks UKIP is not afraid to speak their mind. Claims the two main party just give the party lines instead of individual’s opinions.

Roberts calls Labour and Tories ‘drones’

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“I joined UKIP because it is a straight-talking party,” Roberts said.

Bauke Schram March 5 20155:16 pm

Not everyone seems to be happy with Roberts being invited to Kingston University.

Bauke Schram March 5 20155:14 pm

UKIP’s Ben Roberts, candidate for the Kingston and Surbiton constituency, will be the fourth person to represent their party in KU’s ‘Meet your local candidate’ series, hosted by the Politics Society and Amy Claire Bush, the LGBT officer.

About Bauke Schram

Bauke Schram is the external news editor for the River Online. She is a political journalist with an interest in transnational organisations and international economics. She has written for the likes of City AM, Shout Out UK and Third Sector Magazine

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