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:
We talked to MEP Godfrey Bloom who says the RDR favours big banks over independent financial advisers: http://bit.ly/cAl4NH
— FTAdviser (@FTAdviser) August 20, 2010
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.