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Friday, November 18, 2016

UKIP may be asked to repay £150,000 in 'misspent funds'

The Guardian reports that UKIP is likely to be asked to repay tens of thousands of euros by European parliament finance chiefs who have accused the party of misspending EU funds on party workers and Nigel Farage’s failed bid to win a seat in Westminster.

They say that the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE), a UKIP-dominated political vehicle, will be asked to repay €173,000 (£148,000) in misspent funds and denied a further €501,000 in EU grants for breaking European rules that ban spending EU money on national election campaigns and referendums:

According to a European parliament audit report seen by the Guardian, Ukip spent EU funds on polling and analysis in constituencies where they hoped to win a seat in the 2015 general election, including the South Thanet seat that party leader Farage contested. The party also funded polls to gauge the public mood on leaving the EU, months before the official campaign kicked off in April 2016.

“These services were not in the interest of the European party, which could neither be involved in the national elections nor in the referendum on national level,” concluded the parliament’s finance watchdog.

“The constituencies selected for many of the polls underline that the polling was conducted in the interest of Ukip. Most of the constituencies can be identified as being essential for reaching a significant representation in the House of Commons from the 2015 general election or for a positive result for the leave campaign,” the report continued.

The ADDE also used EU funds for polling before the Scottish and Welsh elections in 2016, the report said. “The administration discovered a substantial number of activities for which financing ought to be considered as non-eligible expenditure,” the watchdog said.

The question has to be asked as to how exactly UKIP will be able to fund its party political activities after Brexit, when the option of using public money will not be available to it?
Strip out the paranoia, and Roger Helmer still made a plausible defence of ADDE on PM yesterday. I would like to have heard him cross-examined on his assertions.

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