is what gives the remaining 10% a bad name!
UKIP Sells Seats, Candidacies & Office for Cash (It has also been claimed that publicly funded jobs have been the reward of sexual favours!), Often Undeclared – which may well explain the astonishingly low calliber and lack of gravitas of its MEPs and candidates, now and in the past.
Ukip faces scandal over ‘cash for Euro seats’
Jane Collins made an interest-free loan of £10,000 to the regional party branch weeks after her selection Adam Gerrard/SWNS
Billy Kenber and Alexi Mostrous
Last updated at 12:01AM, May 14 2014
Ukip faces a “cash-for-Euro-seats” scandal after forcing MEPs to donate large sums and threatening to bar those who refused from standing again, its former deputy leader says. Ex-Ukip insiders have also raised concerns that the party favoured wealthy MEP candidates before this month’s European elections.
Two leading candidates for the May 22 poll, and the partner of a third, donated or lent the party tens of thousands of pounds about the time they were selected for safe seats, according to an analysis of Electoral Commission records.
No new MEP candidates from the Labour or Conservative party have made declarable donations in the past four years. Three Liberal Democrat candidates who have donated large amounts have not been given winnable seats.
The revelations come amid further controversy for Ukip. Yesterday a British Asian former chairman of its youth wing resigned from the party, claiming that it “deliberately attracts the racist vote”, while Janice Atkinson, a prospective MEP, provoked derision by asking police to arrest protesters who called Ukip members “fascists”.
David Campbell-Bannerman, Ukip’s former deputy leader, left the party in 2011 after repeatedly warning Nigel Farage and other top officials about its “overt [link] between financial contributions and selection to a public elected office”. He said that it was “potentially very dangerous” and could be seen as being “cash for Euroseats”.
In his resignation letter, leaked to The Times by a former Ukip branch chairman, Mr Campbell-Bannerman raised concerns including that “Ukip MEPs will only be there in future to keep the party solvent or to pay lip service to the leader”.
Mr Campbell-Bannerman, now a Conservative MEP, accused Ukip of drawing up plans to field four MEP candidates simply so they could “pay all their salary to the party” without carrying out any work.
He wrote that his “urgent calls” for legal advice had gone unheeded and warned that “any future Ukip MEPs beyond 2014 will either be very rich or just sycophantic placemen/women of the leader”. Mr Campbell-Bannerman said yesterday that he stood by his comments.
All Ukip MEPs elected this month will have signed a “code of conduct” forcing them to donate 10 per cent of their salary, equivalent to about €10,000 (£8,000) a year, to the party. Any MEP not fulfilling this promise risks being “blackballed”, according to emails sent by Alan Bown, one of Ukip’s biggest donors.
Mr Campbell-Bannerman was primarily concerned with pressure applied to sitting MEPs. However, a number of new candidates likely to win seats at the European Parliament on May 22 have also given generously to the party.
Under European electoral rules, parties register a list of candidates in ranked order in each of the UK’s 12 regions.Voters choose a political party rather than an individual candidate and each party’s share of the vote then determines how many of their ranked candidates are elected in each region.
Jill Seymour, 56, a parish councillor in Shropshire, is ranked first on Ukip’s regional list for the West Midlands, making her almost certain to become an MEP. She and her husband Brian, 77, a manufacturing tycoon, paid the price of a “car” to host what was then Ukip’s biggest public meeting, a 900-person gathering, in Telford last September.
Ms Seymour was the highest-ranked candidate in the region in a preliminary list endorsed by Ukip’s selection committee and was voted in by the party membership as the top candidate two weeks after the Telford event. Ukip has not registered the donation, which it would have been required to do if it exceeded £7,500.
Jane Collins and Amjad Bashir, who are ranked first and second in Yorkshire and the Humber, made interest-free loans of £10,000 each to the regional party branch in November and December 2013, weeks after their selection. Mr Bashir also financed a Ukip event attended by more than 1,200 people in Gateshead last month. Staff said hiring the venue with sound and lighting equipment and crew for an evening event would cost £10,200.
Mr Bashir declined to say how much the event had cost but that he was “democratically elected on merit and am working hard as a part of a team to secure the best possible result for Ukip in the European elections”. Ms Collins did not comment.
Ms Seymour has not campaigned as fervently as some of her fellow prospective MEPs. She has only spoken at three Ukip-organised events in the West Midlands this year, while the second- and third-ranked candidates have each spoken at least a dozen times, according to the party’s website.
In seven local hustings organised between the West Midlands MEP candidates since April, Ukip was the only party not to field their top-ranked candidate on a single occasion.
Ms Seymour said she was unable to attend every hustings because she had been “inundated” with requests, adding that she was “all over the place, we’re out all the time”. “I can’t fit myself into every hustings,” she added.
A Ukip spokesman said the party believed there was “no point” in responding to detailed questions from this newspaper because “past experience has taught us that you will not fully or fairly record our responses”.
Three new Lib Dem candidates have donated to the party since mid-2010, although none of the donations came within a year either side of the party’s regional lists being announced in December 2012.
Rob Speht, a former councillor, gave donations valued at £3,300 in mid-2011 while Jo Hayes, a councillor in Colchester, gave £10,000 last December. Both are number two on their regional lists in areas where the Lib Dems may well miss out on winning a single seat.
A Lib Dem spokesman said the party does not “require either MEPs or candidates to donate to the party” and that donations “do not play a role in the selection or ranking of Liberal Democrat European election candidates”.
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