5 June 2021

Laurence Fox and Paul Halloran on the Batley and Spen by-election

Commenting on the Batley and Spen by election, Laurence Fox, Leader of The Reclaim Party said:
 
“The events at Batley Grammar School are a blight on our free, tolerant, fair and democratic society.
 
“A man’s life is now at risk and he has had to go into hiding with his family. As a nation, we should be ashamed that this has happened.  
 
“The school, the teachers union, the Government and the Labour Party have shown abject cowardice in their refusal to address this issue.  
 
“Over the past few weeks, I have been working closely with Paul Halloran who understands more about Batley and Spen than any of the opportunistic candidates standing in the by election.  
 
“I have also spoken with many others from across the Batley and Spen constituency about what happened at Batley Grammar School.  
 
“Paul and I have decided that we will not stand in the by election.
 
“It has been made clear to both of us that many people in Batley and Spen are fed up with the Labour Party.  
 
“The Labour Party have lost their way. We cannot in good conscience stand and risk splitting the vote and condemning Batley and Spen to any more years of Labour control.
 
“The Labour Party is one of the most divisive and intolerant political parties in the UK. 
 
“The Reclaim Party is a young party, we stand for freedom of speech and for tolerance. We will be spending the next weeks and months introducing ourselves to the electorate and we do not wish to further our own ends in the short term by engaging in what will become an arena of false promises by people who you won’t see again after the election.
 
“Although we are not standing in the by-election, we will be using it to raise the issue of Batley Grammar School, tolerance and freedom of speech.
 
 “I am delighted to announce that we will be inviting both the Tory and Labour candidates to attend a meeting with the voters of Batley and Spen very soon to discuss tolerance in the UK.”
 
 
Paul Halloran adds:  
 
“After weeks of sleepless nights, an element of guilt and pure frustration, I have decided to step away from this election as a candidate. Please don’t see this as surrender, it isn’t.
 
“This is a by-election. In a matter of approximately two years there will be a General Election. I intend, alongside Laurence Fox and the Reclaim Party, to hold all the candidates to account over the next month and beyond. Someone has to be a voice for Bradley Gledhill, the Batley Grammar School teacher, their families and the forgotten citizens.”
 
“Laurence Fox from The Reclaim Party is a thoroughly decent man whose unwillingness to compromise has personally cost him dearly. 
 
“Laurence and his colleagues have only been interested in how they could help me and all of us work towards solving the area’s many depressing issues by being able to speak out on the basis of free speech, without which our children and grandchildren will have nothing.”
 

Here is Paul Halloran’s statement in full:

 
“It’s not the Paul Halloran show”
 
I have said & wrote this many times over the past few years. It was as true the first time as it is today.
 
My passion to be a voice for the unheard & be a force for change has never wavered. Many people would’ve walked away from the lies, threats & attacks that I & my family have had to endure.
 
I’m proud of this area & proud to tell people where I’m from. I’m proud of the people who live here, tough, honest, no nonsense folk, who call a spade a spade. Sadly though some of these people it seems at the present time are buying into the propaganda that change can only come from the same old parties who have let us all down before & will again.
 
I have had people contact me talking about splitting the vote (I’m glad that I put that nonsense to bed in my post a few days ago). The recurring theme is the absolute desperation to rid the area of the Labour Party.
 
People are respectful enough to tell me I’m easily the best candidate & I would be the best MP the area could have. Then comes the but, they believe the misinformation projected by my opponents that I’ll not get enough votes to win. My answer, I won’t if you don’t vote for me! This is their choice & I respect everyone’s personal decision. I know they’re torn & I feel for them.
 
There is a perception locally that change can only come if you vote for the two big parties. Labour have destroyed our area. The premise now is that the Tories will ride into the district & sort the masses of issues that you & I live under.
 
Trust me both the Conservative & Labour candidates will do nothing to improve my family’s & your families lives.
 
It’s quite frankly appalling that this week we’ve had four men & two youths convicted of murdering 20 year old local man Bradley Gledhill in cold blood. We’ve also still got a young teacher, his partner & family in hiding fearing for their lives. Whilst the Conservative candidate hides in the Spen Valley talking about “building back better” & the Labour candidate virtue signals to her core vote about Palestine.
 
Are these issues more important to the family of a man who’s body was found in the old Yorkshire Bank or a serving British Soldier who was mown down in the street, or the masses of young girls who’s lives have been destroyed at the hands of barbaric grooming gangs. Our area has become the epicentre of a crime epidemic & not one of the major parties in this election wants to address the issues or fight back against these parasites – Why?
 
The Conservatives have no interest in winning the seat. This is borne out by their selection of the candidate, who like the vast majority of the candidates who couldn’t find Batley & Spen on a map four weeks ago. It’s sad that some people can’t see through what has now turned into a complete circus.
 
I have spoken with & met numerous political parties over the past few weeks who have offered me the option to stand for them. In 2019 I stood under the banner of The Heavy Woollen District Independents. Aleks Lukic & I realised that if we were going to cut through & challenge the existing status quo parties in a General Election, this would have to be achieved via a party with the financial resources to help achieve that aim but who are more importantly honourable & brave people who were willing to back me discussing the issues that the above parties wouldn’t. I was therefore delighted to have a meeting of minds with Laurence Fox from The Reclaim Party. A thoroughly decent man whose unwillingness to compromise has personally cost him dearly. Laurence & his colleagues have only been interested in how they could help me & all of us work towards solving the area’s many depressing issues by being free to speak out on the basis of free speech, which without it our children & grandchildren will have nothing.
 
So what’s the answer? Anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve never walked away from a challenge in my life. The problem that won’t go away though is the assumption that life in the area will be wonderful as long as Labour aren’t in power. I believe the Tories don’t want to win & hope that I stand as it suits them that they have a convenient scape goat should they lose. They condescendingly refuse to accept (as in 2019) that they are running a dire campaign, unwilling & lacking the honesty to discuss the uncomfortable truths I always have.
 
After weeks of sleepless nights, an element of guilt & pure frustration, I have decided to step away from this election as a candidate. Please don’t see this as surrender, it isn’t. The facts of life are that the people who don’t think they can support me this time may get their wish & not return a Labour MP. The focus will then be on the Conservative candidate to deliver, he won’t. He will not challenge the issues because he’s quite simply a politician & his modus operandi will be to keep his head down & toe the party line. This is borne out from the absolute fact that he stated in his candidate interview that he will always put the Conservative party before the people of Batley & Spen. Party loyalty over you the very people who he’ll promise the earth to.
 
How sad & regretful does that make you feel when you talk about vote splitting. This is what you are now left with.
 
If the Conservative candidate loses, the nonsense about Paul Halloran being a candidate & splitting the vote cannot be used as their excuse. If he wins, the people who couldn’t support me on this occasion to break the mould will have to be mindful of their choice.
 
If Labour win, again it won’t be because of Paul Halloran, it will be because the Conservative Party have yet again run a dreadful campaign. The line is now drawn in the sand, in the future I will cross it.
 
This is a by-election. In a matter of approximately two years there will be a General Election. I intend, alongside Laurence Fox and The Reclaim Party to hold all the candidates to account over the next month & beyond. Someone has to be a voice for Bradley Gledhill, the Batley Grammar School teacher, their families & you the forgotten citizens.
 
My life would be much easier & so much kinder to my family to walk away. The unpaid community work & achievements over the past few years prove that I have & always will be standing up for the right reasons.
 
Someone mentioned to me recently that I’m the best MP we’ve never had. He said that was down to my voluntary work & the changes I’ve made to peoples lives without any official position. This is the complete irony, the only person who has done 1000s hours of unpaid work for everyone no matter who they are – standing down.
 
I’m not intending to be going anywhere & hopefully I will be blessed enough to step up to the plate the next time to represent you.
 
I have always put myself second to the wishes of the people of Batley & Spen. Not standing is not a position I want to be in.
 
For my family, friends & everyone who has supported me & intended to vote for me in this election, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m so sorry if you think I’ve let you down. I hope you understand that this has by no means been an easy decision.
 
Thank you.
 
This was published on Paul Halloran’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/paulforbatleyandspen/