Anti-EU UKIP party suspends candidate over expense claim
LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Euroskeptic U.K. Independence Party said Friday it has suspended a candidate in the upcoming general election over claims a member of her staff inflated a restaurant receipt to be claimed on European taxpayer-funded expenses.
The allegation is embarrassing for UKIP, which wants Britain to leave the European Union and rails against alleged wastefulness in the EU.
Janice Atkinson, a lawmaker in the European Parliament, was UKIP’s candidate in the Folkestone constituency in southern England.
The Sun newspaper reported that a member of her staff negotiated a 3,150 pound ($4,600) invoice from a restaurant for an event that cost 950 pounds.
The paper recorded the staffer saying: “The idea is we overcharge them slightly because that’s the way we repatriate (the money).”
UKIP, which paints itself as a plain-speaking alternative to more established political parties, is currently running third in election polls, and hopes to win a cluster of seats in east and southeast England on May 7.
Party leader Nigel Farage said a party inquiry would be held to determine whether Atkinson knew of her staff members’ actions, He said on the face of it, “it does not look good.”
“It was one of the most incredibly stupid and dishonest things I’ve ever seen in my life,” Farage told LBC radio.