The ArgusUkip leader dismisses allowances allegations as 'political smear' (From The Argus)

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Ukip leader dismisses allowances allegations as 'political smear'

The Argus: Nigel Farage Nigel Farage

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has defended his use of MEPs' allowances and claimed he is the victim of a "political smear" following allegations about the money used to fund his constituency office.

According to Ukip's own figures Mr Farage spent almost £70,000 of the general expenditure allowance (GEA) on office costs since July 2009, but The Times reported the premises were provided rent free to the party leader.

Mr Farage said he was given the GEA "to spend as he sees fit" and added: "It is taxpayers' cash, which I spend to promote the campaign of getting Britain out of the European Union."

According to transparency reports produced by Ukip, Mr Farage spent £69,500 on office costs between July 2009 and December 2013.

Ukip has fiercely disputed The Times' claim that the office in Lyminster, West Sussex cost closer to £3,000 a year to run.

Mr Farage told Sky News that he was given a £3,580 monthly allowance, unlike the Westminster system where MPs had to claim expenses.

He said: "They are not expenses. We don't actually claim for anything. I have not claimed for an office, I have not claimed this figure of £15,000 (a year).

"The Times, who are the pro-establishment newspaper, have deliberately tried to conflate the expenses row in Westminster - where people have been using taxpayers' money to buy houses and make large capital gains - with the way the system in the EU works.

"I'm not defending this system, I want it to end. But I get given, as does every other British MEP, £3,580 every month to spend in the UK and in my constituency as I see fit.

"There are a list of allowable expenses - we can spend it on newspapers, we can spend it on books, we can spend it on subscriptions on periodicals, on hotel bills, on restaurant meals, on taxis on travelling or, if we want to, on an office as well."

He added: "We do not have to provide any receipts or any explanation for how that money is spent."

Asked what the money was spent on, when the office is rent-free, Mr Farage said: "The electricity bill is more than £3,000 a year, we have burglar alarms, we have insurance, we have a massive postbag and a mail bill that is growing by the week as the level of interest and support for our party and our campaign and our cause grows."

Pressed by Sky News' Dermot Murnaghan on why the electricity bill was so high the Ukip leader said it was for "running machines, running banks of computers, running photocopiers".

He said the lack of scrutiny of MEPs' expenditure was "how the European Union works, it's one of the reasons that I don't want us to be a member of it".

Mr Farage added: "I'm setting the example: I want to be sacked, I want every British MEP to be sacked, I want these allowances to end totally and I want us to have a referendum to get us out of the European Union.

"I have spent 15 years, I have travelled more miles, I have spoken at more meetings, I have worked harder across the UK than any other British MEP and without those allowances I couldn't have done the job."

He said the allegations made against him in The Times were a "political smear of the worst kind".

On BBC Radio 4's Today programme Mr Farage said he would consider allowing his use of the allowances to be independently scrutinised.

"If that would solve the argument, of course I would," he said.

"The real point, of course, here is that Ukip ultimately don't want any of these allowances, we don't want British MEPs costing the taxpayer all this money."

In a letter reprinted on Ukip's website, Mr Farage's former office manager - who was quoted in The Times - disputed the £3,000 annual running cost claim.

David Samuel-Camps said he had reduced monthly running costs from £2,000 to £700 - or £8,400 a year.

Comments (5)

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6:16pm Tue 15 Apr 14

HJarrs says...

Somehow UKIP have defied political gravity (I put this partly down to the Tory press giving Cameron a good hiding for daring to mildly challenge the press over their criminal misdeeds). For years their councillors have been a joke and their MEPs have soaked the tax payer like no other while achieving and delivering nothing. Yet, they get away with it. Perhaps that is going to end?
Somehow UKIP have defied political gravity (I put this partly down to the Tory press giving Cameron a good hiding for daring to mildly challenge the press over their criminal misdeeds). For years their councillors have been a joke and their MEPs have soaked the tax payer like no other while achieving and delivering nothing. Yet, they get away with it. Perhaps that is going to end? HJarrs
  • Score: 0

7:21pm Tue 15 Apr 14

a person says...

Nigel Farage is following the rules.
MEP s do not claim any money ,
They are just given it.
Daft isn’t it. That’s what the EU vote for.

Caroline Lucas was an mep for a number of years .
I wonder did she accept the money she was given
or did she hand it back.

“”Maria Miller claimed second home allowances of £90,718 – almost the maximum permitted – between 2005 and 2009 towards mortgage payments, bills and other costs relating to the house””

Now that was wrongly claimed and worth investigating .
cameron stood by her .
Nigel Farage is following the rules. MEP s do not claim any money , They are just given it. Daft isn’t it. That’s what the EU vote for. Caroline Lucas was an mep for a number of years . I wonder did she accept the money she was given or did she hand it back. “”Maria Miller claimed second home allowances of £90,718 – almost the maximum permitted – between 2005 and 2009 towards mortgage payments, bills and other costs relating to the house”” Now that was wrongly claimed and worth investigating . cameron stood by her . a person
  • Score: 7

11:18pm Tue 15 Apr 14

rayellerton says...

Isnt it strange...the more popular UKIP become with the people, the more smears are being produced. But, this will backfire as people have had enough of the same old lot and their cosy little power arrangements. It is a sign that the establishment are running scared, and the more UKIP get put down the more people end up on their side. I have not voted for years as all the old parties are just out for themselves and give empty promises just to stay in power...there are hundreds of thousands of voters just like me who will be voting in May, and at the General Election to get rid of the old guard...
Isnt it strange...the more popular UKIP become with the people, the more smears are being produced. But, this will backfire as people have had enough of the same old lot and their cosy little power arrangements. It is a sign that the establishment are running scared, and the more UKIP get put down the more people end up on their side. I have not voted for years as all the old parties are just out for themselves and give empty promises just to stay in power...there are hundreds of thousands of voters just like me who will be voting in May, and at the General Election to get rid of the old guard... rayellerton
  • Score: 10

7:51am Wed 16 Apr 14

her professional says...

HJarrs wrote:
Somehow UKIP have defied political gravity (I put this partly down to the Tory press giving Cameron a good hiding for daring to mildly challenge the press over their criminal misdeeds). For years their councillors have been a joke and their MEPs have soaked the tax payer like no other while achieving and delivering nothing. Yet, they get away with it. Perhaps that is going to end?
Hope so.
[quote][p][bold]HJarrs[/bold] wrote: Somehow UKIP have defied political gravity (I put this partly down to the Tory press giving Cameron a good hiding for daring to mildly challenge the press over their criminal misdeeds). For years their councillors have been a joke and their MEPs have soaked the tax payer like no other while achieving and delivering nothing. Yet, they get away with it. Perhaps that is going to end?[/p][/quote]Hope so. her professional
  • Score: -9

9:14am Wed 16 Apr 14

Fairfax Aches says...

This type of behaviour demonstrates how lucky we have been to have a local party with some integrity (The Green Party). This constant Argos bashing them because they happen to believe in something and have the courage of there convistions. It shows the other parties to be nothing than the self centered money grabbing fashists they are
This type of behaviour demonstrates how lucky we have been to have a local party with some integrity (The Green Party). This constant Argos bashing them because they happen to believe in something and have the courage of there convistions. It shows the other parties to be nothing than the self centered money grabbing fashists they are Fairfax Aches
  • Score: -8

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