Neil Hamilton Heaps Embarrassment On Ukip Scandal
Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 11/12/2014
is what gives the remaining 10% a bad name!
Ex Tory sleaze exponent fired in ‘Cash For Questions’ scandal Neil Hamilton’s expenses claims Heap Embarrassment On Ukip already beset with serial Scandals.
Neil Hamilton questioned by UKIP over expense claims he has made while deputy chairman of the party as he steps down from selection in Basildon South
- Former Tory MP is under scrutiny from the Ukip finance committee
- He allegedly claimed expenses for staying at wife Christine’s London flat
- Details emerged in leaked letter, which Hamilton described as ‘dirty tricks’
- Calls for party’s national executive committee to take action
- Says Channel Four saw leaked letter before he did
- Details of claims emerged before Hamilton pulled out of Essex vote
- Tells party members he only stood as a local councillor was excluded
- Gave his backing to Kerry Smith, who was later selected for the seat
Published: 20:56, 10 December 2014 | Updated: 23:36, 10 December 2014
Claims: Neil Hamilton stepped down from Ukip selection tonight as it emerged he was facing questions over expenses he allegedly claimed for staying at wife Christine’s flat
Neil Hamilton stepped down from Ukip selection tonight as it emerged he was facing questions over expenses claims he made as deputy chairman of the party.
The former Tory MP is under scrutiny from the Ukip finance committee over expenses he allegedly claimed for staying at his wife Christine’s London flat.
Details of the expenses claims emerged in a leaked letter before Mr Hamilton told party members at a hustings meeting in Essex that he would not be standing for election there.
He had been one of five candidates in the running to become Ukip’s candidate for the seat of South Basildon and East Thurrock.
Mr Hamilton made the announcement before hustings began at the meeting, saying he had only stood because a local councillor, Kerry Smith, had been deselected as the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the seat in October, only to be later reinstated.
Announcing his decision to step aside and backing of Mr Smith, Mr Hamilton told the BBC: ‘He should never has been deselected in the first place, in my opinion, and he will make an excellent member of parliament for Basildon.’
‘I would not have put my hat into the ring if I’d known that Kerry was going to be a candidate.
‘I didn’t know until I got here that his name was included in the ballot paper.’
Mr Smith was later selected for the seat.
Last month, Mr Hamilton withdrew from the race to become UKIP’s candidate for Boston and Skegness.
In response to the leaked letter, Mr Hamilton lashed out at party insiders over a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign being run against him.
And he called for the party’s national executive committee (NEC) to take action against those involved in the ‘black arts of selective briefing, misrepresentation and outright lies’.
Tonight, Channel 4 News political correspondent Michael Crick revealed that Mr Hamilton had been sent a letter asking him to explain ‘each and ever mileage claim’ he has made, as well as details on lunches.
He was also asked to provide ‘an explanation of each stay that has been charged for your wife’s flat detailing why it was more convenient for you to stay there, rather than at your house’.
Mr Hamilton was also asked to state why he charged VAT on his salary from the party during his time as campaign manager in the run-up to the European elections, a job the letter said he was subsequently ‘removed’ from.
The letter, leaked to Channel 4 News, said the committee had been told that the arrangement had not been agreed.
‘We have seen the email trail and would like an explanation as to why you did not go back to those who agreed this salary and why you did not make it known that you intended to charge VAT on your salary by charging Ukip through a company for your services as this incurred Ukip in extra costs.
‘It is accepted that Ukip would have had to pay employer’s NI which is substantially less than VAT.
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Stepping down: Details of the expenses claims emerged before Hamilton told party members at a hustings meeting in Essex that he would not be standing for election there
‘What is wrong here, is that you failed to go back to the management committee to clear the arrangement knowing that Ukip was at all times during this campaign short of money.’
The letter, which was sent today, signed off by telling Mr Hamilton: ‘Please do bear in mind that we receive at Lexdrum House handwritten letters from pensioners enclosing a £5 or a £10 note which they have managed to save so as to send it to Ukip and hence we need to make sure that all expenses are fully explainable.’
Mr Hamilton said tonight that Mr Crick had seen the letter before he had.
‘It is sad that some people in UKIP have adopted the black arts of selective briefing, misrepresentation and outright lies which Ukip rightly excoriates in the LibLabCon,’ he said.
‘It is time for the NEC, directly elected by the Party’s hard-working members, to cut out this cancer at the heart of Ukip which undermines its integrity.’
Mr Hamilton said he had predicted the correspondence about his expenses would be leaked and insisted he had been given assurances the inquiry into claims was a general one, rather than targeted at him.
He said: ‘Andrew Reid’s letter was written this afternoon and leaked to C4’s Michael Crick before I had even seen it.
Response: Mr Hamilton lashed out at party insiders over a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign being run against him
‘The correspondence of which it is part, and which explains my position, has not been leaked and, therefore, a deliberately misleading view has been created, calculated to inflict maximum damage on me.’
He added: ‘The assistant treasurer of Ukip explicitly said to me at the outset that the expenses inquiry is general and not specific to me, arises because Ukip is short of funds and that there was no suggestion of any impropriety on my part.
‘The demand now for receipts, when I was explicitly told they were not necessary, may have been in included in this letter to convey an impression of malpractice on my part.
‘There are no grounds whatsoever of suspecting me of any impropriety.
‘Certain individuals have axes to grind against me and this is part of their continuing dirty tricks campaign.
‘Only a small handful of people could have leaked this letter and a glance at the names should make it perfectly obvious who the culprit or culprits are likely to be.
‘I have worked selflessly to advance UKIP’s interest for 12 years, entirely at my own expense until I became a party employee as European campaign director on September 1, 2013, an appointment which ceased on May 31, 2014 since when I have been unpaid but entitled to my expenses.’
Mr Hamilton’s bid to stand for Ukip in South Basildon and East Thurrock followed the withdrawal of Natasha Bolter from the race.
She had been embroiled in a row over claims of sexual harassment against a senior Ukip official, who has subsequently been suspended.
General secretary Roger Bird insisted he was not a ‘predator’ and was confident a full party inquiry would clear his name.
He published a file of personal messages which he says show he was in a relationship with Ms Bolter.
She says she felt pressured to sleep with the man overseeing candidate approvals in order to further her potential career in the Eurosceptic outfit.
Ms Bolter – who defected from Labour in a blaze of publicity and was introduced on stage at this year’s Ukip conference by Mr Bird – said that although he propositioned her, he was a ‘gentleman’ when she declined.
Decision: Mr Hamilton’s bid to stand for Ukip in South Basildon followed the withdrawal of Natasha Bolter (left) from the race after she was embroiled in a row over claims of sexual harassment against General secretary Roger Bird (right), who has since been suspendedNatasha Bolter describes details of texts with Roger Bird
Mr Bird, who is single, insists however that they enjoyed a six-week consensual, sexual relationship that began a week after she had been approved to join the approved candidates list.
The former Conservative councillor, who quit the Tories in 2009 and switched to Ukip the following year, released part of what he said was a large collection of emails, texts and photographs which backed his side of the story.
He said the liaison began ‘some time after’ the candidate assessment and was ended by him on November 2.
Among the messages he said were received from Ms Bolter, one read: ‘But I love u and miss u and think u r sort of perfect.’
Another, apparently referring to the close of the Ukip conference in Doncaster, read: ‘R u still cool with me leaving suitcase here and coming home with u? Xx.’
Others expressed sentiments such as ‘really missing u bird’, ‘U r not coming back and accordingly my life will go back to a meaningless void” and “U r a really great mentor bird’.
‘Natasha Bolter and I were in a consensual relationship. This took place some time after her candidate assessment,’ Mr Bird said. ‘All of the suggestions that I was being some kind of predator and all the rest of it is entirely unsubstantiated by the facts.’
Ms Bolter agreed that she had sent a series of messages but told BBC2’s Newsnight: ‘None of them changes my story.’
‘I did not sleep with Roger Bird, end of,’ she said.
In an interview for the programme, she said: ‘When I said no, nothing happened. He’s a gentleman.
‘I never felt scared of him, I just felt pressured maybe, that if I did the right thing my career would go faster and further.”
‘He wasn’t taking me seriously as a candidate; he was looking at me as a sex object.’
She said the issue could have been dealt with by way of a ‘tap on the wrist’ if the party had acted more swiftly, and both parties continued.
But she suggested it was part of a wider issue.
‘We need to look at it in the greater picture: if they are not looking after a candidate that is going to stand in one of their target seats who is bringing forward serious allegations of sexism and racism and misogyny, are they really going to look after our electorate.’
Mr Bird said he ‘really could not even hazard a guess’ at why she might wish to invent a claim against him.
‘I suspect that perhaps she’s fallen out of love with Ukip for reasons unconnected to me,’ he said.
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