Ben Jephcott has circulated a report about missing election leaflets which was reproduced in the Birmingham Press: “Last week, our Hodge Hill candidate Phil Bennion was canvassing in Newland Road in Bordesley Green and found that residents there were confused as they had wrongly been delivered the Ladywood Lib Dem freepost”.
It prompted the writer to look at a few highlights of Mr Bennion’s work as an MEP:
- his call for a binding international convention on drone strikes and targeted killings: “The indiscriminate use of drone strikes by the U.S. in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Yemen must come to an end. “These so-called ‘targeted killings’ are often not very targeted at all, and can end up killing large numbers of civilians, destroying vital infrastructure and crippling the local economy. Far from eliminating terrorism, these strikes play into the hands of Islamic extremists by fostering anti-Western sentiment;
- his co-sponsorship of a Written Declaration (similar to an Early Day Motion in the UK Parliament) in the European Parliament calling for action to highlight the plight of thousands of people across Europe born with severe disabilities and life-shortening conditions caused by the drug thalidomide;
- his backing for a cross-party appeal to Catherine Ashton, Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to ensure that EU cash does not end up funding activities in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, illegal under international law;
- his vote against the EP travelling to Strasbourg every month, “ridiculous when most of our meetings and staff are based in Brussels. It is not just a waste of public money but the carbon footprint is astronomical. We voted by a large majority to end this charade but it needs action by governments”.
- His concern for youth unemployment, “we need education systems which are fit for purpose so everyone has the opportunity to get appropriate qualifications and the chance to develop their skills to the full. We have to concentrate on skills for young people through things like work experience which will give them the confidence to compete in the economy”.
- he lobbied with Potteries ceramics firms and eventually the EP imposed provisional anti-dumping duties on imports of ceramic tableware and kitchenware from China.
Hodge Hill would find him an active constituency MP.