The FT’s chief political correspondent has taken some time out from remixing Nigel Farage speeches to skewer the UKIP leader on a blatant conflict of interest. On the day the Europe was due to legislate on e-cigarettes, Farage appeared on YouTube slamming the move – after the party had received £31,000 in donations from a manufacturer of the tobacco substitutes.
With refillable e-cigarettes facing a ban by the Commission, UKIP had received £25,000 from Pillbox 38 Ltd and another £11,000 from its founder. Farage gushed of the challenge to the single-use electronic fags produced by Big Tobacco:
“But into this vacuum have [come] a whole host of entrepreneurs producing these kind of things, with refillables … and these things are remarkable!”
This will have a familiar ring to regular Scrapbook readers. UKIP’s arms-length MEP Godfrey Bloom served on one of Europe’s top finance committees while failing to declare that he had a controlling stake in a firm of independent financial advisers. The Yorkshire and Humber MEP was also all over the media and YouTube defending the interests of the sector:
Bloom then lied about his arrangements after Scrapbook spilled the beans — before rushing to amend his declaration of interests with handwritten scrawl. Armed with documents to prove the case, this blog then approached a number of MEPs’ offices to bring an official complaint against Bloom but none were interested.
And the main parties wonder why UKIP has suddenly become a problem.
UPDATE: Tory spinners have been in touch to clarify: “The Votewatch listing that you cite refers to a recorded vote on Paragraph 2, part 3 of the resolution only. Therefore, the part of the resolution that Conservative MEPs voted against was this particular element”. However the Tories still abstained in the final vote — refusing to back the the measures outlined below.
While David Cameron and Nigel Farage were falling over themselves (almost literally) for a good photo op in the south west this week, perhaps they should have told the good people of the Somerset Levels that both their parties refused to back flood prevention in a European Parliament vote. Farage didn’t even bother turning up.
Tory and UKIP groups abstained on a 2012 motion on the implementation of EU water legislation designed to tackle the “rise in the frequency and intensity of floods” with “adaptation and mitigation policies”. The vote emphasised “the importance of risk prevention, mitigation and response strategies to prevent water-related extreme phenomena”.
As if the relevance to flood-hit parts of the UK wasn’t clear enough it continues:
“some countries do not suffer from shortages of water but are having difficulty in managing the excess of water resulting from regular or heavy rainfall, flooding, river erosion and pollution affecting river basins and coastal areas, as well as the effects of these phenomena on the local population”
“Calls on the Commission to conduct a relevant analysis of the ways to prevent the effects of flooding, given the noticeable increase in the flood risk in Member States in recent years”
This could be particularly awkward for their sitting south west MEPs.
Far-right crackpots Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen reckon Nigel Farage is their kind of chap — which is why they invited UKIP to join their new grouping in the Brussels yesterday.
Forced to rebut the suggestion on Twitter, wouldn’t it be embarrassing if it turned out that a UKIP MEP had been cosying up to ‘extremist’ Wilders — even inviting him to the European Parliament for the showing of a far-right film which intersperses quotes from the Qur’an with footage of terrorist atrocities?
Errr … step forward London MEP Gerard Batten, who — when not sporting his ridiculous suit and tie in party colours (below) – loves nothing more than to heap praise on Wilders. Writing in Freedom Today, Batten gushed:
“he is a brave man trying to defend western civilisation in the face of its own loss of the most basic instinct of self-preservation”
And Farage has the cheek to act surprised when Europe’s far-right come calling.
It’s happened before. Another UKIP panellist on Question Time … and UKIP’s scaremongering immigration rhetoric is slammed.
This time the audience member is joined by Tory minister Anna Soubry.
This pixel fault in Salford’s Media City UK — which manifested at the precise moment that UKIP leader Nigel Farage was talking about immigration and Enoch Powell — will doubtless fuel UKIP conspiracy nuts’ theories about BBC bias.
Even the TVs are against them!
Hope Not Hate have exposed a current UKIP councillor as a former candidate for the racist National Front. Robert Ray is the party’s sole representative on Thurrock Council — but stood for the NF in the 1970s.
While that is certainly a long time ago, Ray told Hope Not Hate staff that he still backs the National Front platform:
“We read him the contents of his election leaflet and he told us that he still stood by everything that was written, claiming that immigrants still established ghetto areas in this country.”
UKIP have a policy against former members of the National Front as members:
“Membership is not available to anyone who is or has previously been a member of the British National Party, National Front, British Freedom Party, British People’s Party, English Defence League, Britain First or the UK First Party.”
So the matter of his expulsion from the party is now a formality, right?
Errrr … maybe not. When Nigel Farage’s 2005 election agent was found to have a track record with at least two far-right parties he was let off the hook. Martyn Heale was forgiven his activities as an activist, branch organiser and candidate for the National Front and the “avowedly racist” New Britain Party on the basis that his membership was “considered historic”.
Don’t hold your breath.
SEE ALSO: Former Nazi wins council seat for Labour
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett is out to spoil UKIP’s favourite photo call:
“Just waving a pint and a cigarette and grinning does not a serious political party make.”
We can forgive him an ale and fag at 6pm on a Friday though.
With Tory Nigel Evans charged with sexual offences against seven men, party campaigners will have maintained a keen interest in the possibility of a by-election in Ribble Valley since his initial arrest in May. But as the only credible challengers in the event of a conviction for the (now former) deputy speaker, the UKIP operation in the seat is in disarray.
Party spinners have been away briefing that they are in with a chance:
“A conviction would almost certainly force him to resign [his seat], however, and the UK Independence Party has suggested it would hope to do well in any by-election.”
Indeed, an August council by-election in the constituency’s main town of Clitheroe would have provided fertile soil for UKIP to test their ground operation — if it weren’t for the fact that their lynchpin activist in the area, errrr, quit the party and stood as an independent.
Steve Rush, the party’s Westminster candidate in 2010 and former Lancashire vice-chair demolished Tory opposition in the Littlemoor by-election, securing second place as the Lib Dems surged to victory. UKIP didn’t even bother standing a “paper candidate” with nominal campaign support.
Though Rush might well have been forced to step aside for any hypothetical future contest, the state of UKIP in Lancashire’s wealthiest enclave does not augur well for Nigel Farage’s parliamentary ambitions.
Evans is bailed to appear before Preston Magistrates’ Court on 18 September.