Farage ordered to repay £80k to EU

July 21st, 2017. \\ Politics. \\ Tags: UK, #Brexit.

British eurosceptic MEP Nigel Farage has been ordered to repay £80,000 to the European Parliament, it has been reported. The institution has objected to the fact that one of his staff, paid by the EU to assist him in his work as an MEP, is also working for UKIP, the party of which Farage was formerly leader. This is against the Parliament’s rules.

Whilst not denying the facts of the matter, Farage has defended his position by claiming that the staff member in question was working for the party “on a voluntary basis.”

“Without any formal procedure of any kind at all, the letter tells me they’re going to take £80,000 from me…. And it’s now my job to prove my innocence and so what we’re actually dealing with here, these unelected people are behaving frankly like people back in Stalin’s day did.” he said.

This will not the first time that money has been reclaimed from UKIP MEPs by the European Parliament for such a breach of the rules.

The employment of party officials through the members assistance allowance is in fact a very common practice amongst MEPs of all nationalities: Marine Le Pen has also been caught out recently, and UKIP is certainly not the only British party to have done this.

There are other ways in which EU funded staff can be deployed to other purposes. During the 2004-2009 legislature, the Independence & Democracy Group, of which Farage was co-President, was found to be employing staff, and even providing office facilities, to a privately owned media company – the principle of that company being the wife of Farage’s fellow co-President at the time, Jens Peter Bonde.

In March 2014, then MEP Nikki Sinclaire caused uproar in the Parliament when she accused Farage of employing both his wife and his former mistress out of his European Parliament allowances.

Employing one’s spouse was, at the time, both widespread and legal. Now it is a banned practice. However, as is often the case in the EU institutions, when one loophole closes another opens up, and at the beginning of the current legislature Farage’s wife was found to be employed by a fellow UKIP MEP, one Raymond Finch. During the 2009-2014 legislature, Finch himself had been employed by…… Nigel Farage!