MEP cleared of allowance misuse

ESSEX Police are to take no action over allegations that a Euro MP for the East of England and his political adviser improperly misused parliamentary allowances.

Graham Dines

ESSEX Police are to take no action over allegations that a Euro MP for the East of England and his political adviser improperly misused parliamentary allowances

The UK Independence Party MEP Jeffrey Titford, formerly from Frinton, and his advisor Stuart Gulleford, who lives in Brentwood, have been told that “no criminal conduct” has been found after the constabulary were called in by John West, the party's parliamentary candidate for Suffolk Central and Ipswich North.

In a letter, Essex Police say: “The investigation included obtaining a witness statement from a former colleague/employee of yours, which made it quite clear that while Mr West may have believed he had cause for concern, we the Police are satisfied that there is no criminal conduct which requires further investigation.


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“As such, the case is closed as `no crime.'”

Mr Titford, an MEP since 1999 who will be 75 when the next Euro elections are held in June 2009, is not seeking re-election. Polling for Europe is conducted on the regional party list system of proportional representation, which means candidates in the higher positions on the list have more chance of being elected.

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Top of UKIP's East regional list will be David Campbell Banner, great nephew of a former Liberal prime minister, and Mr Gulleford will be in fourth place. Seven MEPs will be elected for the East region, which covers the counties of Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Mr Titford and Mr Gulleford, in a statement issued from UKIP's Eastern Counties office in Chelmsford,

said: “It is a relief to put the matter behind us. It is one thing knowing that you have done absolutely nothing wrong but quite another waiting for the police to come to the same conclusion.”

Mr Titford added: “The real casualty in all this is my colleague and friend Stuart Gulleford, who has worked extremely hard for me during the past eight years. He was on the final list of candidates put to the members for voting and this non-existent scandal damaged his prospects.”

Mr West told the EADT that he was not the originator of the complaint, but passed on the concerns of a third party about alleged financial irregularities.

“I have no regrets because my duty as a citizen was to report the matter. I shall carry on in my capacity as a parliamentary candidate,” said Mr West.

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