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Croydon Ukip chairman dismisses leaflet 'hypocrisy' row as 'breeze in a teacup'

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A SENIOR Ukip candidate in Croydon has dismissed accusations of hypocrisy over the party's use of Eastern Europeans to distribute election leaflets as a "breeze in a teacup". Ukip was accused of double standards after it emerged that many employees of a delivery company it is using in Croydon are from Latvia, despite the party's claims that EU immigrants threaten British jobs. Peter Staveley, branch chairman for Croydon Central and South, said the company was contracted by the party's two council election candidates in New Addington, Clive Christensen and Chris Johnson. Mr Staveley told the Advertiser the company's use of EU migrants was a "non-issue" and in fact served as an example of the problem Ukip is trying to highlight. "It's an example of where we have got to in this country - that people from Eastern Europe are prepared to work for less than the indigenous population," he said. "Like any good business, we take the lowest bids from the company that is going to deliver the goods. "I don't believe it's embarrassing because it reinforces what the situation is, that companies are able to undercut [each other] by employing people who are prepared to work for less money." Mr Staveley said Ukip's two New Addington candidates paid distribution firm Fast Leaflets to deliver fliers across the estate earlier this week. Andrew Spalis, the company's distribution operative, told the Huffington Post yesterday that many of its employees are from Eastern Europe. Mr Staveley, who declined to identify the candidates, said he had spoken with one of them since the issue had been made public. "I saw him last night, but I didn't bother mentioning [the leaflets] because it's such a storm in teacup, in fact it's more of a mild breeze than a storm," he said. "It's irrelevant. It's simply the other parties digging up a minute thing about how we deliver leaflets." Ukip support stricter immigration controls and were accused of racism after launching a high-profile poster campaign including the line: "26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose job are they after?" Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell said Ukip's "hypocrisy knows no bounds". "They say they are against Europeans taking our jobs and then, when they have a chance to offer some British people work delivering their leaflets they employ European workers," he added. Mr Staveley, who is standing in Addiscombe ward, said: "There's no hypocrisy here, though I can see why our opponents and the media would say otherwise. "Our voters would have expected us to use the best company at the cheapest possible price. "As long as the company is fully legal then there's no need to do any more regulation on who they actually employ. "Ultimately what this is doing is highlighting the problem we're trying to raise, which is this company is having to employ Eastern Europeans because they are not allowed to employ people from outside the EU." When asked whether Ukip was in fact contributing to that "problem", Mr Staveley said: "I don't believe we're contributing to it. The company would exist anyway."

Croydon Ukip chairman dismisses leaflet 'hypocrisy' row as 'breeze in a teacup'


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