junius on ukip

Exposing corruption in Nigel Farage's UKIP

Archive for May, 2009

The lies of Nigel Farage

Posted by juniusukip on May 31, 2009

Taken from Dr Eric Edmond’s UKIP blog.

Mr Edmond was a member of UKIP’s NEC. He was also an MEP candidate in the South West. He was removed from the NEC and deselected as an MEP candidate after criticising Farage and his sycophants about the lack of democracy in UKIP.

One of Nigel’s frequent assertions to our ill briefed media is that, “UKIP is the most democratic party in UK politics”. He then goes on to cite how sitting MEPs get preference in other parties but not in UKIP. Tell it to the marines Mr F! Look at the resources UKIP MEPs can deploy to secure their re-selection compared to other activist member candidates. Who gets the media slots – the sitting MEPs. Who gets featured in Independence News – Farage and friends!

I was democratically elected on to UKIP NEC. I was kicked off by Farage’s NEC cabal. They claimed what they did was within the rules. Now where have we heard that recently? Like the corrupt MPs UKIP NEC have no moral standards and do not know right from wrong. I can remember Ken Livingstone disagreeing vehemently with the Labour leadership in the 80s and 90s. Was he kicked out? No! Was Enoch Powell kicked out of the Tory party for disagreeing with Heath . No he was not! He eventually left the Tories but of his own choice.

I was democratically elected on to the South West MEP list. I was then deselected by the Farage NEC cabal. The reason they gave was they were acting within the rules. The same reason as given by the corrupt MPs Farage is so vociferoous in condeming. No other party ignores democracy as UKIP does under Farage. UKIP under Farage is a Fascist party that is worse than the EU in ignoring its members democratic will and follows the Dr Goebel’s big lie school of propaganda.

What other party allows its members to be expelled at the whim of an unelected chairman? None! Does any one believe such an undemocratic party can free us from the EU? UKIP’s ordinary decent members must take back their party from Farage’s self serving cabal before it is to late. UKIP is currently part of the chains keeping us in the EU and not part of the fight for our freedom. UKIP with the tacit support of the British media establishment blocks those who genuinely want to free our country from EU rule by denying the real freedom fighters the chance to put their case to the British public in the national media. UKIP can never help free us from EU rule until its current leadership is ejected lock stock and barrel. They have gone native in the bars of Brussels and are controlled by their EU paymasters and the LibLabCon pro EU Establishment.

To see the original: LINK

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UKIP: A wasted vote

Posted by juniusukip on May 30, 2009

From the Telegraph:

On Thursday, the British public goes to the polls. One thing is for sure: voters are in a mood to punish MPs from all the main parties for their venality, arrogance and, in some cases, dishonesty. Inconveniently, however, these are not Westminster elections. The candidates are standing for the European Parliament or local councils. Their expense claims are not yet a major issue and, in theory, the scandals uncovered by this newspaper have only limited bearing on the elections.

But let us be realistic. The European Union and local government will not be uppermost in many people’s minds as they reach for the pencil in the polling booth. For staring out at them will be the names of the main political parties to which greedy MPs belong. After weeks of eye-popping revelations about a system of expenses which was disgracefully lax, even when it was not being abused, how can we expect voters not to react in some way?

One strong temptation will be to vote for one of a range of minority parties, some of which are sinister or silly, while others have fresh and thought-provoking ideas. In normal circumstances, some Eurosceptics might be tempted to vote Ukip, while libertarians might plump for the (also Eurosceptic) multinational party Libertas. Middle-class environmentalists might decide to desert the Liberal Democrats in favour of the Greens, newly endorsed by Joanna Lumley.

But we do not live in normal times. The executive and legislature of the United Kingdom are effectively paralysed by revelations of shabby behaviour, on a scale that has shocked all but the most diehard cynics. The European and local elections offer an opportunity for a protest vote, a vote that expresses disgust at the moral collapse of an entire political class. But there is only one meaningful protest that the electorate can register at the polls, and that is one that helps force the Government to call a general election in the near future. And that excludes voting Ukip.

The recent history of Ukip raises serious questions about its competence, to put it mildly. The fiasco of Robert Kilroy-Silk’s involvement with the party was just one of many bouts of vicious infighting. It has sought to make capital out of the expenses scandal, but is itself no stranger to financial controversy. One of its MEPs, Ashley Mote, was expelled from the party and later jailed for benefit fraud. (He hopes to appeal the verdict.) Another MEP, Tom Wise, is facing prosecution for alleged false accounting and money laundering relating to his EU expenses. He denies the charges. Meanwhile, one of its most distinguished former supporters, the economist Tim Congdon, has left Ukip, claiming that it has been “captured by the European institutions” and neglects its British Eurosceptic supporters. More worryingly, as this newspaper reported last weekend, it has “become a haven for elements of the far Right”. In David Cameron’s phrase, it attracts “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”.

To read the full article: LINK

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Godfrey Bloom: Another corrupt UKIP MEP

Posted by juniusukip on May 30, 2009

And yet another corrupt UKIP MEP has been exposed by the press.

From the Times:

A British MEP uses his parliamentary staff allowance to pay three assistants who are also employed at an investment company in which he is a major shareholder.

Godfrey Bloom, the UKIP representative for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, who made headlines when he claimed that women do not “clean behind the fridge enough”, employs his 20-year-old niece and two other members of staff at TBO Investments.

Mr Bloom was director of research at TBO until he was elected to the European Parliament in 2004 and remained as a consultant until two years ago. He still owns 20 per cent of the company, which was fined £28,000 by the financial services regulator last October for “advice failings”.

Emma Brader, his accredited parliamentary assistant, and Victoria Skowronek, his secretarial assistant, were both working in the York headquarters of TBO Investments yesterday, six days before the European elections. David McLaughlin, another member of his staff, is a director of TBO Investments.

Mr Bloom, 59, has used his official website to highlight the expenses scandal at Westminster. It says: “Godfrey Bloom employs no immediate members of his family on his secretarial allowance, unlike most other MEPs (non-UKIP).” It also laments the “woeful lack of candour and common sense in modern-day politicians”.

He confirmed yesterday that Ms Skowronek was his niece and lives next door to him in Wressle, East Yorkshire. Ms Brader, 26, a leading point-to-point rider, wrote on Facebook about their prospects if Mr Bloom was not re-elected: “This would mean that Vicki and I would lose our jobs and Godfrey says we’d have to go on the game, but we wouldn’t make much money because we are too old!”

UKIP confirmed yesterday that Mr Bloom was questioned by a senior parliamentary official last year about a “possible conflict of interest with the employment contracts”. Paulo Cam- pilho, head of the parliamentary assistance and members’ general expenditure unit, decided that no further action should be taken, the party said.

Mr Bloom has become one of the best-known MEPs with his views on housewives, prostitutes and pregnant employees. He has claimed that “any small businessman or woman who employs a woman of child-bearing age needs their head examined”.

He also once argued that the majority of prostitutes were not exploited. “In short, most girls do it because they want to,” he wrote in an article for the Brussels-based political magazine The Sprout in 2006.

The Yorkshire Post reported that Mr Bloom admitted having visited brothels as a Hong Kong-based businessman, although the amount of beer he consumed meant that no encounters were consummated.

TBO was fined by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for inadequate supervision and monitoring of staff providing advice to clients and for inadequate record keeping between December 2001 and October 2007.

One of the company’s current directors, Mr McLaughlin, 36, is Mr Bloom’s “paying agent” responsible for overseeing the salaries of his parliamentary staff. Mr McLaughlin is also paid about £200 a month to provide advice to the MEPs’ constituents on pensions and financial institutions.

Mr Bloom said yesterday that his eight parliamentary staff were all part-time and were paid an average of £25,000 a year out of his £140,000 staff allowance.

Mr Bloom said: “I am pretty well known as the cleanest MEP in town. All of the people who work for me are fully qualified and trustworthy.”

He said that the FSA fine was for a “technical breach” of the rules on record-keeping. He emphasised that no client money was misused.

Mr Bloom said that Ms Brader had worked for him full-time until Christmas when she announced that she planned to marry in June. He had known her since she was at Ripon Grammar School as her parents were prominent farmers but could not recall when she started work at TBO.

When she announced her marriage plans they decided it was best if she worked part-time and he recruited his brother-in-law’s daughter to become her assistant, Mr Bloom said.

Mr Bloom said that all his daily £261 subsistence allowance for attending the European Parliament was given to charities in his constituency. He said that his constituents could see the original receipts for his spending.

End of article.

If Bloom had ANY integrity he would resign. He is a disgrace to the WHOLE Euro-realist cause!

To view the original: LINK

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The knives are out for Nigel Farage

Posted by juniusukip on May 29, 2009

The election may not yet be over but there are already moves to oust Farage.

In Brussels there have been complaints about Farage’s £2 million expenses bill and his refusal to publish a full list of his expenses.

At least two UKIP MEPs have said that Farage should go regardless of how many MEPs they get in June.

Bannerman has already started canvassing support for a post-June leadership bid and hopes that election to the EU Parliament will increase his support in the Party.

When Bannerman came over to UKIP he insisted that he be lead MEP candidate in a region of his choice. He also insisted that he be considered for the leadership. Although he failed in his first attempt to become leader he still regards the job as his by right. He sees winning a seat in Brussels as vital if he is to achieve this ambition.

The odious Paul Nuttall – Farage’s chosen successor – also intends to run for the leadership and hopes that his position as Party Chairman will win him the support of ordinary members.
That’s why Farage was so keen to give him the job.

He also regards becoming an MEP as vital if he is to stand any chance of beating Bannerman.

Farage has never forgiven Bannerman for challenging him for the leadership. He also regards Bannerman as a wet who ‘will never set the world alight’.

Some foolishly regard Nuttall as the man who will clean out UKIP’s Augean stables. The fact that Nuttall is as dishonest and corrupt as his master seems to have escaped their attention. Rather than clean out the stables he is far more likely to foul it even more!

Trevor Colman is also seen as a potential successor to Farage by many of those disillusioned by Farage and his sycophants. Many regard him as the man who would be able to clean up UKIP and persuade thousands of disillusioned ex- members to return to the fold.

Amusingly, Bannerman’s supporters are already beginning to spin against Nuttall. They claim that he is inexperienced and lacks Bannerman’s statesmanship!

Perhaps they can give us a few examples of Bannerman’s statesmanship? I must say I have never noticed him display ANY statesmanlike qualities! He is not even a good liar!

Nuttall’s supporters are saying that their candidate is ‘a man of the people’ who will win for UKIP the support of the working classes!

Yeah right!

The knives are being sharpened. It looks like it is going to be a very dirty leadership campaign!

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UKIP, Nigel Farage and corruption

Posted by juniusukip on May 28, 2009

And the bad news just keeps on coming!

Article By Fiachra Gibbons

The expenses scandal that has shaken Britain’s political class and claimed the head of the Speaker of the House of Commons now threatens to engulf Europe.

Several British MPs have already been forced to resign from their parties for claiming exorbitant expenses for everything from the cost of cleaning the moats of their castles to hiring electricians to change a lightbulb.

One even billed the public purse for building a house for his ducks. The furore culminated with the departure of the Speaker of the Commons, Michael Martin, the first time such a normally uncontroversial establishment figure has been forced to step down for 300 years.

But now public anger is turning towards MEPs, whose liberal expenses regime has been long the target of the country’s eurosceptics. Ironically, however, it is the leader of the UK Independence Party, who want to pull Britain out of Europe, who has been exposed as the worst offender. Nigel Farage, who has called on voters to punish the “greedy” establishment parties at the European elections in nine days’ time, has himself boasted of taking more than 2.3m euros in expenses from the European Parliament, on top of his salary of nearly 80,000 euros.

It comes as UKIP has risen to an unprecedented 17 per cent in the polls on the back of public disenchantment with the greed of national MPs. But now Farage’s astonishing admission threatens to burst his party’s bubble.

Farage, who employs his own wife as his paid parliamentary assistant, tried to limit the damage by saying that MEPs were “very expensive”, but opponents have accused him and his party of gross hypocrisy. He has long insisted that the EU is too expensive, and his party has campaigned on a platform that Euro corruption is so endemic it is unreformable (below right). “We should not be paying 40 millions pounds a day to an organisation whose accounts have not been signed off for 14 years in a row,” he said.

Farage insisted that he had not “pocketed” the money but had instead used the “very large sum of European taxpayers’ money” to subvert the EU and hasten Britain’s exit from the union. But this is far from the first time that UKIP has found itself embroiling in expenses rows, with two of its original 16 MEPs actually charged with fraud. Tom Wise, who has since left the party, and his researcher Lindsay Jenkins are both facing prison for alleged abuse of their expenses, and another former MEP, Ashley Mote, 73, was given an nine-month suspended prison sentence two years ago for falsely claiming benefits of more than £65,000. Another leading British MEP, the Tory Den Dover, has been forced to pay back £445,000 in “unaccountable expenditure”. He had been accused of paying his wife and daughter nearly £750,000 from European funds.

Farage let the size of his expenses claims slip during a debate about Europe at the Foreign Press Association in London. He was asked by former Europe minister Denis MacShane what he had received in non-salary expenses and allowances since becoming an MEP in 1999. “It is a vast sum,” he said. “I don’t know what the total amount is but it must be pushing £2m. “

The expenses claims of European parliamentarians have come under increasing scrutiny over the last few years. The regime was seen as generally lax until the first reforms four years ago, and the lack of transparency about allowances and travel expenses in particular had become a running embarrassment. Part of the reason for the liberal regime was an attempt to make up for the glaring disparities in pay between MEPs from different countries. For the last decade or so MEPs were paid the same as their colleagues in their national parliaments, which meant that Italian members were paid nearly 130,000 euros, while those from Spain received less than a quarter of that, and those from the new member states in the east only a tiny fraction of that sum.

However, all new MEPs elected in June will get a Europe-wide flat salary of 91,984 euros – which will mean a pay cut for those from Austria, Germany and Italy – while sitting members will come under pressure to agree to the same deal. The rules on expenses have also been tightened sharply, but worries remain over enforcement, with officials only conducting spot-checks on MEPs accounts rather than systematic vetting of every claim

To view the original: LINK

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13 reasons why you should not vote UKIP on June 4th

Posted by juniusukip on May 27, 2009

Craig Mackinlay, ex Vice Chairman UKIP, on internal UKIP elections: “I will not be associated professionally or personally with what has become a perverted and shambolic process. Threats from the Party Chairman . . . merely add to the stink that now surrounds this election.”

John Petley, ex UKIP researcher: “It really is now too much to expect the party to be turned round. Even removing Farage as leader will not solve it. His cronies hold all the positions of power, and there isn’t the time to winkle them all out. Sadly, for all the undoubted good UKIP has achieved, it is time for it to be dismembered. The wound is too deep. The poison has spread too widely. In 2004, UKIP had a great chance to advance the argument for British withdrawal from the EU. With the right approach, the argument could have been won irrevocably by now. Independence is so noble an objective, and there is so much to support this assertion.

So UKIP has had its chance and blown it. We are left with only one option – to start again, learning from UKIP’s successes but more importantly, its failures. “

Gregg Beaman, ex North West Regional Organiser and former MEP candidate: “As far as Farage is concerned I knew when I met him, during the Preston by-election in 2000, that he was the personification of vanity and ego with little behind that wafer thin facade. I have seen his childish temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his own way, when I was on the NEC and later when I was on the Elections Committee. I have seen him bully people and have stood up to him when he has tried to bully me. He must be one of the coarsest most vulgar individuals I have ever come across. The proposed changes to the party constitution are a result of the complete lack of principle of the current leader and chairman and, it must be said, the lack of courage shown by certain members on the Party’s NEC.”

Dr Eric Edmond, ex NEC member and former MEP candidate: “He (Farage) has packed the NEC with his unelected nominees Andreasen, Nuttall and Arnott etc clearly to push through yet more undemocratic practices and consolidate his personal hold on the party.

John West, ex UKIP Branch Chairman and PPC ” When I first joined UKIP I actually believed that UKIP was sincere in its endeavour to extricate Britain from the European Union! I must now confess that I was conned along with thousands of other trusting members. UKIP`s MEPs are now part of the problem. Thanks to their love of the good life they have forgotten about why they were elected and who they are supposed to represent. ”

Alison West, ex UKIP Branch Chairman and PPC: ” After four years of loyalty to the UK Independence Party, which I truly believed once showed such promise, I have come to the conclusion that its credibility and integrity have been destroyed by the corruption, egotism, greed, immaturity, irresponsibility and lack of discipline that has spread through the leadership. “

Richard North, ex UKIP Chief Researcher, writing of Farage: “He cannot tolerate anyone in the party who he feels is or might be in a position to challenge him. He prefers to surround himself with incompetents and deadbeats. Anyone who emerges who might show an independent streak, he ruthlessly eliminates, to ensure that they cannot be seen as competition.”

And again: “(Farage) . . . spends the bulk of his time manoeuvring and scheming to keep himself in the dominant position, while presenting to the world his “boyish charm.”

Bryan Smalley, Party Secretary for two years, wrote of Farage: “He is dishonest and frequently makes untrue statements.”

Anthony Scholefield, Party Secretary for three years stated: “A disturbing feature is that Mark Croucher, UKIP Press Officer, shows UKIP members’ details to Communists and Socialist Workers via Searchlight and Unite Against Fascism. Croucher reports to Farage.”

Anthony Butcher, ex NEC member: “UKIP is now a hindrance to the anti-EU movement.”

David Abbott, ex NEC member and committed Christian:Our leader issues an edict that MEP’s wives must not be on the MEP’s payroll. Then he is caught paying his own wife.”

And again: “These new revelations were on top of all his (ie Farage) more obvious defects including total amorality, bullying, adultery, and drunkenness, vengefulness and lying.”

Roger Knapman, ex Party Leader and MEP: “UKIP MEP’s met and agreed a statement of practice – first that we would not go on ‘junkets’ to other countries and secondly that we would not employ our wives. This was to prevent us getting dragged into the comfortable EU world that leads to ‘going native’. I am now very worried that this agreement is being ignored and that the attractions of the European Parliament as a career may beckon to some; where the delights of plush new office suites, Brussels titles and internal parliament or IndDem Group politics are more attractive than our original purpose.”

Robin Page, BBC Presenter: “The party created to fight centralised government, sleaze and corruption has become a mirror image of the body it professes to loathe.”

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The Sun on UKIP corruption

Posted by juniusukip on May 27, 2009

Nigel Farage’s hope that UKIP would benefit from the Westminster expenses scandal has suffered a major blow after the Sun published a damning article on corruption in UKIP.

This article will undoubtedly cost UKIP thousands of votes when their readers realise that UKIP is no different from Labour, the Tories or Lib Dems when it comes to jumping on the Gravy Train

Champions League final may shun them — because it could cost them their places on the Brussels gravy train.

MEPs have been warned by party leaders Gordon Brown and David Cameron that they have to publicly declare match tickets as part of the war on sleaze.

Now they must decide whether to attend the clash between Manchester United and Barcelona and risk voters’ claims of freeloading.

A source said: “The last thing they want is TV viewers spotting them in an executive box days before European elections.”

The UK Independence Party was warned yesterday it faced a backlash for failing to follow the Tories and Labour by giving expenses details.

UKIP, led by Nigel Farage, has been plagued by fraud and corruption scandals since winning 12 Euro seats in 2004.

A senior insider said: “The EU is deemed to be a gravy train. I believe that a lot of our MEPs have forgotten that.”

Mr Farage admitted he could not prove how he had spent his own expenses and allowances.

And the party refused to release details of how its MEPs had spent taxpayers’ money when The Sun challenged it as part of our campaign against Euro fiddling.

UKIP’s popularity soared after it claimed their goal was to save Britain from fraud and corruption in Brussels.

But of the dozen MEPs elected in 2004, one was sent to prison for housing fraud and another is being prosecuted for money laundering.

Four of the 12 now no longer take the whip amid disillusionment.

High profile chiefs Roger Knapman and TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk have also quit the party.

To view the original: LINK

Still think UKIP is worth a SINGLE vote on June 4th?

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More guns turn on Farage over expenses scandal

Posted by juniusukip on May 26, 2009

Things are certainly hotting up for Farage!

Davey: Farage must explain UKIP’s missing millions

Mon, 25 May 2009

Edward Davey is writing to UKIP Leader Nigel Farage challenging him to publish his MEPs’ expense claims and to account for their shameful record of voting for perks and secrecy in the European Parliament.

When Nigel Farage first went to Brussels, he promised to publish his accounts annually ‘so the public can inspect them’, but since then neither he nor his UKIP colleagues have done so.

In addition, two of the 12 UKIP MEPs elected in 2004 have since faced criminal charges for falsely claiming benefits, false accounting and money laundering. UKIP has also voted against a cap on MEPs’ earnings, reforms to make travel expenses more transparent, and have backed laws aimed at keeping their expenses secret.

Commenting, Edward Davey said:

“UKIP MEPs have attacked others over their expenses while living the high life in Brussels, charging the taxpayer, and hiding the true cost from voters.

“One in six UKIP MEPs elected in 2004 has since faced criminal charges over their creative accounting. Meanwhile, UKIP turned up in the European Parliament to vote against a cap on MEPs’ earnings, against reforms to make travel more transparent, and in favour of laws aimed at keeping their expenses secret.

The chair of the Liberal Democrats’ Campaigns and Candidates Committee, went on to say, “It’s one thing to complain about MPs’ expenses. But it is quite another to point the finger while hiding the truth about yourself.

“UKIP’s absent accounting, elusive expenses, and secretive attitude add up to bare-faced cheek. Nigel Farage must explain to the public where the money has gone and why they have voted against change.

Edward concluded “UKIP must end the hypocrisy and show us the money now.

“Dear Mr Farage,

Recent revelations over politicians’ expense claims have highlighted the importance of openness, transparency and accountability when spending money from the public purse.

When you were first elected to the European Parliament in 1999 comments you made suggested that you understood the need for this approach. You were widely quoted as saying that: “We are the only people who are intending, annually, to publish so that the public can inspect them, our expense accounts, our allowance accounts, and the excess that we get – the excess that we are forced to take – particularly on travelling allowances.

“Why haven’t you?

After ten years in the European Parliament there is no evidence that you or any of your UKIP colleagues have ever published a breakdown of your expenditure. A number of your colleagues use their websites to criticise the Parliament’s expenses regime, but none accompany this with information about what they themselves have spent. Is this because you spend money in a way which you know the public would find inappropriate?

Moreover, the voting record of your MEPs suggests that, far from pursuing frugality and transparency, UKIP wants to protect its perks and cover up the evidence.

Why did you vote against the Gargani Report on the Members’ Statute which proposed a cap on MEPs’ earnings and reform of travel expenses so that they are based on receipts rather than the lump sum equivalent of a business class ticket?

Why also did you vote just two months ago for amendment 114 to the Cashman Report, aimed at preventing freedom of access to MEPs’ expense details?

Finally, given your commitment not to “go native” in Brussels, could you explain why your parliamentary party has been plagued with such problems over financial irregularities?

One in six UKIP MEPs elected in 2004 has since faced criminal charges, with one spending time in prison and another currently facing trial. That is the equivalent of one hundred and eight Westminster MPs’ being charged with crimes.

What steps are you taking to ensure that any new Members elected do not similarly fall foul of the law?

In the interests of public accountability I believe that you should give full and public answers to these questions.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Davey MP

To view the original: LINK

And still Nigel Farage refuses to publish a full list of his expenses. What have you got to hide Nigel?

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The Sun exposes UKIP

Posted by juniusukip on May 25, 2009

In a survey based on MEPs voting for transparency and reform in Brussels – including lifting the lid on expenses – UKIP MEP’s faired particularly badly. Several of them are in the bottom ten!

Included in the list are John Whittaker UKIP MEP, Godfrey Bloom UKIP MEP and Nigel Farage UKIP MEP.

More stories on UKIP sleaze will appear in the press before June 4th.

To see the original: LINK

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Don’t vote UKIP: The hypocrisy of Nigel Farage

Posted by juniusukip on May 24, 2009

Farage is a hypocrite. He condemns greedy MPs and yet is quite happy to claim over £2 million in expenses himself.

In a pathetic attempt to justify his greed Farage has said that MEPs are “very expensive”. He also refuses to publish a list of what he spent the money on.

Farage, you have been exposed as a liar and a fraud. If you had ANY integrity – which you don’t – you would resign.

Taken from the Observer:

The leader of the UK Independence party (Ukip), which wants to lead Britain out of the EU, has taken £2m of taxpayers’ money in expenses and allowances as a member of the European Parliament, on top of his £64,000 a year salary.

Nigel Farage, who is calling on voters to punish “greedy Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem MPs” at the European elections on 4 June, boasted of his personal expenses haul at a meeting with foreign journalists in London last week.

The admission threatens to flatten a bounce in the polls for Ukip that has seen the party climb to around 17% over the last fortnight as angry voters flock to smaller parties regarded as untainted by the Westminster expenses scandal.

During a debate about Europe at the Foreign Press Association – which was discreetly taped by the hosts – Farage was asked by former Europe minister Denis MacShane what he had received in non-salary expenses and allowances since becoming an MEP in 1999.

“It is a vast sum,” Farage said. “I don’t know what the total amount is but – oh lor – it must be pushing £2 million.” Taken aback, MacShane then joked: “Is it too late to become an MEP?”

Farage insisted that he had not “pocketed” the money but had used the “very large sum of European taxpayers’ money” to help promote Ukip’s message that the UK should get out of the EU.

When asked later by the Observer to justify how he could claim so much while running a campaign attacking Westminster MPs for their extravagance, Farage was unapologetic, saying that, while MEPs were “very expensive”, he was entirely happy that the money had been used for the best of causes.”

Last night, as Ukip circulated new party literature saying Westminster MPs had “ripped off taxpayers”, Farage, who employs his wife to help run his office and pays her from his allowances, faced a backlash as opponents accused him of hypocrisy. MacShane suggested that Ukip’s attempt to pose as more honourable on expenses than other parties had been exposed as shameless and hollow.

“Far from being the party of the little man in Europe, Nigel Farage’s astounding £2m raid on the taxpayer shows he is up there with any other politician, happy to line his pockets with gold,” he said.

Ukip’s opponents now hope the admission will halt the party’s advance which Farage’s supporters believe could see it overtake Labour and secure second place in the European poll.

At the last European elections in 2004, Ukip enjoyed its greatest success, installing 12 MEPs in the European Parliament after securing 16.1% of the vote.

But the success rapidly turned sour as one of the dozen, Ashley Mote, was expelled from the party – and later jailed – for benefit fraud. Another, Tom Wise, is now facing prosecution for alleged false accounting and money laundering relating to his EU expenses. He denies the charges. Television presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk, who won the East Midlands for Ukip, later left to form another eurosceptic outfit, Veritas.

With the pressure on all parliamentarians mounting, Farage insisted on Friday that from next month all his MEPs would publish their expenses online. “From the moment any Ukip members get elected, all elected MEPs will provide a clear and traceable quarterly statement of their expense accounts,” he said.

To view the original: LINK

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