UKIP suspends Euro MP Tom Wise
ONE of the region's MEPs was suspended from the UK Independence Party yesterday over allegations of financial irregularities.Euro MP Tom Wise is at the centre of a European Parliament inquiry into allegations he claimed money to pay one of his staff's wages, but did not pass on all the cash to her.
By Graham Dines
ONE of the region's MEPs was suspended from the UK Independence Party's European parliamentary group yesterday over allegations of financial irregularities.
Euro MP Tom Wise is at the centre of a European Parliament inquiry into allegations he claimed money to pay one of his staff's wages, but did not pass on all the cash to her. He has been asked by the authorities in Brussels to give an explanation.
If officials are not satisfied with his answers, they are expected to pass the file to the police in Belgium and England.
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A statement from UKIP yesterday said Mr Wise had been suspended “for failure to provide information responding to alleged fraud irregularities that are now being investigated by OLAF (the European anti-fraud body).
“The decision should in no way be seen as prejudicial to the outcome of the investigation.”
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Speaking from Brussels yesterday, Mr Wise, who lives in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, said: “There is no comment to make and I have no comment to make.”
The party has no power to force Mr Wise to quit as an MEP. He will now sit as an Independent.
Mr Wise was elected in 2004 in second position from UKIP's list of candidates under the system of election to the European Parliament. Those elections resulted in the Conservatives winning three seats, UKIP two, and the Liberal Democrats and Labour one each.
Under European electoral regulations, there will be no by-election if Mr Wise quits. His place will be offered to one of the party's unsuccessful candidates, and the favourite will be Robin Page, who was in third position on the list behind Jeffrey Titford and Mr Wise.
Cambridgeshire farmer Mr Page, 63, who sprung to fame from his appearances on BBC2's One Man and His Dog series, said yesterday: “If it becomes necessary and I am asked, I will serve the remaining two years of Tom Wise's term as an MEP.”