Race row looms as UKIP Wisbech candidate blames Conservatives and Lib Dems for allowing “free loading immigrants” into the country
14:29 19 February 2013
A WISBECH UKIP candidate for a Cambridgeshire County Council seat claimed today that Conservatives and Liberal Democrats were to blame for allowing “free loading immigrants” into the country.
Alan Lay, who last stood in the town elections two years ago, accused Fenland Lib Dem councillor Dave Patrick of “scoring a spectacular own goal by complaining about unlicensed and illegal taxi cab runs in Wisbech by Eastern Europeans”.
He said in a letter to this newspaper that Lib Dems and Tories support policies that have brought “many problems to Wisbech including unlicensed cabs.
“Cllr Patrick should take stock of just how much other help he may have given them.”
Mr Lay said Cllr Patrick would do well to consider what a typical day in the life of a taxi driver consist of.
“Maybe he picks up an immigrant, drives them to the benefits office, and then on to view some social housing property, back to the benefits office, on to the Job Centre,” said Mr Lay.
“Next thing he takes them to a car sales to pick up a car that the job centre has paid for, this enables them to take a job that should be a British person’s entitlement. Oh I forgot, the wife is pregnant so she is taken to the hospital to have her baby. Then we send her back to her home country whilst we continue to pay her child and mother benefits.
“All this is paid for by us British taxpayers. I bet his fellow cab drivers really love him. Hooray for a brilliant own goal.”
Mr Lay said there was a petition in Wisbech against further Eastern European immigration “and this time next year many more will be eligible, ready to come from Bulgaria and other places.
“Perhaps Cllr Patrick will come and sign it?”
UKIP branch officials acted swiftly to distance themselves from Mr Lay, but agreed their campaign in May will focus on immigration.
Ken Perrin, newly elected NE Cambs organiser for UKIP, said their efforts would focus “on the system that allows it to happen not on the individuals.
“I think the line in this letter slightly over steps the mark on what UKIP would like printed in the press. I think on this one Mr Lay has been over zealous.”
Mr Perrin said it would be his job “to have a quiet word with Alan. We don’t want this going too far.”
Cllr Patrick said he found the letter “abhorrent and antagonistic and it could cause problems in the town.”
Tory county councillor Martin Curtis was among those who felt Mr Lay – who had asked for his name to be withheld - was among those who felt it was right to publish it.
“As a candidate he should not be allowed to hide racism behind anonymity,” Cllr Curtis tweeted.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr Lay had included a note in his letter which said: “John you know me well. I will be standing for election in May this year. I would prefer you not to publish my name. Regards, Alan.”
I decided not to withhold his name.