Wednesday, 27 November 2013
West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire met with Journalism students at the University of Worcester today to discuss her political career, her views on the state of British and European politics and her recently published autobiography.
Ms Sinclaire, formerly a member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), talked about the launch of her campaign for a referendum on the UK’s potential withdrawal from the European Union.
She told students on the Reporting Politics module that she believes that the time is right for the people of the United Kingdom to decide whether or not they want their country to remain in the EU.
One of the objectives of the module is for students to engage with politicians of different views so that they can develop and practice their interviewing and reporting skills in the political context.
“I passionately believe that we’ll be better off out of the EU,” she explained. “At the moment, we’re in kind of a halfway house – we’re not fully engaged with the EU but at the same time, we’re still in it.
“The people should decide. The argument is sometimes made that people do not understand the debate on the EU, but look at Scotland – their population have understood the arguments for and against independence and are preparing to vote on the matter.”
First elected as an MEP in 2009, Ms Sinclaire will stand for re-election in 2014, but revealed to the students that she will only serve a maximum of one more term – taking her through to 2019 – stating that ‘if I haven’t achieved by goals by then, I never will’.
She also discussed her autobiography, entitled ‘Never Give Up’, in which she talks about the gender reassignment surgery she underwent twenty years ago.
The book has attracted attention from national media, and Ms Sinclaire explained that she had chosen this moment to speak about her past as she wanted the story to be told in her own words.
“The media tend to jump on to certain catchphrases,” she said. “I didn’t want to pick up the phone to The Sun or The Mirror one day and be told that they were running a story about me, and asked to comment on what may well have been a wrong and inaccurate account.
“I’m glad I didn’t go public before I was elected as an MEP, as I don’t think I would be sitting here as an MEP if I had. I have four years of real, solid work behind me, and although there is always the worry that going public may affect my politics in the future, I hope it doesn’t.
She added: “True equality will only come about when we don’t think about labels that we are given. If I can help us towards that in even a small way, it will be a very positive thing.”
Claire Wolfe, Journalism Subject Leader, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for our Reporting Politics students to quiz someone at the forefront of UK and European politics, and one that they took with both hands.
“For them to be able to test out their interviewing and reporting skills on an MEP was a hugely valuable exercise, and we are very grateful to Nikki Sinclaire for taking the time to visit us.”