One aspect of the upcoming by-election in Stoke on Trent Central that has so far eluded most of the print and broadcast media is how UKIP is paying for new leader Paul Nuttall’s campaign. After all, the Kippers are rumoured to be in a parlous financial state, and yet there they are, with a centrally sited temporary office, and a rented house close by for the “Bad Bootle Meff” to use in claiming to be a local candidate (ho ho ho).
Nuttall - fraudulent campaign
How UKIP square this particular circle is, as with so much of the party’s activities and utterances, down to a generous measure of flagrant dishonesty. It is also down to improper - and highly illegal - misuse of European Parliament staffing and expense regimes. And that flagrant impropriety is why the Kippers have managed to install a full-time campaign manager in Stoke Central - but not paid for by themselves.
Farage - drew attention to the impropriety
Last week, the HuffPo told its readers “Nigel Farage Refuses To Campaign Anymore For Paul Nuttall In Stoke Amid Splits At Top Of Ukip … The former Ukip leader is not happy with how the campaign is being run”. The problem? “Farage … was furious to discover a Ukip member who had made a series of allegations about him was helping to run the event”. Who was this person? Step forward Lisa Duffy.
Where is Lisa Duffy working this month? Brussels?
Back to the HuffPo: “A source close to the former Ukip leader says he holds Patrick O’Flynn - Nuttall’s closest advisor - responsible for Duffy’s involvement”. Former Express hack Patrick “Lunchtime” O’Flynn, now inexplicably an MEP, “employs Duffy and her husband Peter Reeve as assistants in the European Parliament”. Also, “O’Flynn refused to get rid of Duffy, leading Farage to vow to stay away from Stoke for the rest of the campaign”. So Ms Duffy is working for the UKIP by-election campaign.
No smoke without fire - she's working in Stoke
This has been confirmed by the party’s sole MP, Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell. But as The Skwawkbox has explained, there are two problems with this arrangement. One, the Kippers are already under investigation by the EU’s OLAF anti-fraud unit in regards to misuse of European Parliament expenses. And Two, Lisa Duffy is employed by O’Flynn to work as his assistant - but not in campaigns for the UK Parliament.
Carswell - knows about the fraud
Indeed, as The Skwawkbox pointed out, “EU regulations categorise MEPs’ assistant as civil servants and their duties as ‘their specific task of supporting members [MEPs] in carrying out their duties’. MEPs’ assistants can, therefore, only work in the European Parliament or, if they work in an MEP’s constituency, they can only work on anything specifically related to the MEP’s work as an MEP. Nothing else is legitimate”.
O'Flynn - employs Ms Duffy, but not to work in Stoke
Lisa Duffy, in working for Nuttall’s campaign, is in flagrant breach of European Parliament employment and expense rules. So are those knowingly aiding and abetting her actions, which so far includes O’Flynn, Carswell, and Nuttall. Farage, however, has merely been guilty of rank stupidity by drawing the EU’s anti-fraud investigators’ attention to the scam.
Earlier this month, Lisa Duffy’s Twitter feed confirmed she was in Stoke on what appeared to be a semi-permanent basis. So what are the authorities going to do about this latest act of dishonesty, deception and fraud? Dishonesty and UKP going hand in hand once again.