Published on 10 Dec 2014

Explain your expenses: Ukip demands details from Neil Hamilton

Tonight, as Ukip is holding its selection meeting for the constituency of Basildon South, a letter from the Ukip finance committee querying expenses claims made by the former Tory MP Neil Hamilton has been seen by Channel 4 News.

The fact this letter was written on the day that Neil Hamilton was due to appear at the selection meeting in Basildon reflects the deep concerns within the Ukip high command about him becoming the party’s candidate in one of Ukip’s most promising seats.

Previously the Ukip hierarchy barred Mr Hamilton from the party lists for the European elections last May and from the selection contest in Boston and Skegness.

With less than an hour to go before the selection meeting, Mr Hamilton described the leaking of the letter as “a dirty trick” to deliberately destabilise the hustings, saying some of the queries it contained had already been answered.

Given that he had only just seen it, no point-by-point response to the issues raised has yet been forthcoming from Mr Hamilton.

The letter begins:

Dear Neil Hamilton,

To assist you in focusing your mind on Ukip’s simple and not unreasonable request that you explain your expenses claims. Would you please provide details of the following to the F&RC Committee;

1.       In the case of each and every mileage claim, detail where you went, who you saw and why you had to make this trip.
2.       Provide the invoice for each disbursement that you say you have incurred, detailing why this disbursement was incurred, and in the case of a lunch for example, whom you were having lunch with and for what purpose.
3.       Provide an explanation of each stay that has been charged for your wife’s flat detailing why it was more convenient for you to stay there, rather than at your house.
4.       State who agreed that you were able to charge for staying in your wife’s flat post the European elections.

The letter also provides confirmation that Mr Hamilton was deposed from his paid job as Ukip campaign manager for the European elections:

5.       Prior to the European elections, please confirm who agreed that you would be able to charge for your stay in your wife’s flat , and obviously at the same time set out why, and where you were that required that you utilise this flat on a specific day.
–   More particularly what interested the committee is why, after you were removed from the job that you were originally allocated prior to the European elections, you continued to use this flat as you were no longer performing that role.

6.     To assist you, [Redacted] has specifically told us that he did not agree for you to charge VAT on the salary you received prior to the European Election. We have seen the email trail and would like an explanation as to why you did not go back to those who agreed this salary and why you did not make it known that you intended to charge VAT on your salary by charging Ukip through a company for your services as this incurred Ukip in extra costs. It is accepted that Ukip would have had to pay employer’s NI which is substantially less than VAT.
–   What is wrong here, is that you failed to go back to the management committee to clear the arrangement knowing that Ukip was at all times during this campaign short of money.

7.       To further assist you, in respect of expenses claimed with your new role, (Deputy Chairman Regions) [Redacted] has specifically told us that you could claim expenses for any tasks that he requested you to carry out.  Accordingly can you please provide, for each item of work, confirmation that this was specifically done at [Redacted]’s behest.
 
We note that you have withdrawn your claim for attendance and stay at the Doncaster Conference as you now say that it was wrongly put in due to a “fit of pique” – whatever that means.
 
We further note that you are no longer proceeding with this claim at all. We find this somewhat surprising particularly as, if the expenses can be substantiated, as set out above, there no reason for Ukip not to pay it or for you to withdraw the claim!
 
We need to place on record that we knew nothing of any expense claims you had put into Ukip until  [Redacted] brought the expense claim that you have now withdrawn to my attention because [Redacted] had been asked on a couple of occasions by your wife to pay this invoice and [Redacted] felt that we ought to see it to confirm that payment was in order. In addition, prior to this, the NEC had asked for greater information to be provided to them on Ukip’s finances and expenses and no doubt this is what prompted [Redacted] to mention this to us as he was concerned by it.
 
We hope the above will assist you in providing the information that is required to substantiate your claims. You have already had over a month to assemble this information and the F& RC committee should be obliged to receive this information by close of business Friday 19th December, particularly, as [Redacted] has pointed out to us, Ukip’s year end is 31stDecember.

Please do bear in mind that we receive at Lexdrum House handwritten letters from pensioners enclosing a £5 or a £10 note which they have managed to save so as to send it to Ukip and hence we need to make sure that all expenses are fully explainable.

Mr Hamilton became a hugely controversial figure whilst serving as a Tory MP over allegations that he took cash in brown envelopes for asking parliamentary questions, which he has always denied.

Whatever the outcome of the allegations, this is yet more evidence of discord within Ukip.

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19 reader comments

  1. Robert Kaye says:

    “Mr Hamilton became a hugely controversial figure whilst serving as a Tory MP over allegations that he took cash in brown envelopes for asking parliamentary questions, which he has always denied.”

    I’m not sure why you need to be so coy, carefully wording this as though it was nothing more than a disputed allegation, when both the Parliamentary authorities and a jury in the High Court, found that Hamilton HAD accepted case for asking parliamentary questions.

    When someone is found guilty by a jury, you don’t normally feel the need to qualify it with a comment that they deny the allegations.

  2. Paul says:

    Cash for questions, questions about cash – do I spot a theme here?

  3. News Boy says:

    Hamilton ought to have been investigated more thoroughly over the decisions he made regarding the news trade as a junior minister in the 1990’s. His controversial action damaged thousands of small independent news agencies to the benefit of oil company petrol station outlets. Good luck to UKIP with this one – the man’s a liability.

  4. Philip says:

    As I definitively non-UKIP voter, I can say confidently that unless the whole UKIP leadership implodes – and Farage is far too canny to allow that to happen – this sort of thing is going to make no difference to the votes UKIP will win next May. Many UKIP voters are firmly of the opinion that the “establishment” will be doing their utmost to throw mud at the party between now & May….and this both expected and will be ignored.

  5. ryeatley says:

    I’m interested that an ex-conservative who has sometimes been under a cloud is again so placed.

    I think that it is very good that the UKIP are sorting this out.

    I do not think for a moment that it’s what crick – a confirmed anti-UKIP man, it seems – says – the only discord in the UKIP seems to be due to the prescence of this man and his unexplained expenses.

    I am sure that either one of two things will happen – either Mr. Hamilton will come up with a= satisfactory explanation, or he’ll be expelled. It’s as simple as that.

    Would that other parties – conservative, labour and liberal democrat – treated their representatives in the same way, instead of continuing to harbour certain characters that many would regard as highly dubious.

  6. Roy Pierce says:

    Michael Crick showing his nasty left wing credentials again. What a sad little man you are !

    1. David Simpson says:

      Hey, don’t shoot the messenger

  7. Mike T says:

    Au controire – I think that UKIP is actually cleaning it’s act as it goes before the polls next year; and that the establishment is very, very, VERY frightened that they are going to get 100 seats and some very large noses are going to be extracted from some very deep troughs

    1. Malcolm Duff says:

      Mike; you say “the establishment is very, very, VERY frightened that they are going to get 100 seats”. That may be true and, yes, the establishment is dealing with it as it sees fit. You may not agree with their tactics or strategy. You have that freedom.

      However, I would like to say that I am very, very, VERY frightened that they are going to get 100 seats. I am not an “establishment” person. Represent no-one. Have no axe to grind.

      I do not want my child growing up in a society where UKIP has even the slightest slice of power. Ever.

      So, yes. VERY frightened. As we all should be.

  8. Dawn Parry says:

    Regardless of what anyone may think of UKIP, it’s clear that whoever wrote this letter and whoever leaked it wants to sink Hamilton. Why else would it be written out in such a detailed way when the last section makes it clear that he’s already fully aware of these points? The “pensioners’ saving up £5 & £10 to give to UKIP is also too emotive to be for anyone other than the press (& the public).

  9. Fubar_Saunders says:

    Meh. Sounds like the UKIP NEC is being particularly thorough. Nothing wrong with that. As for Hamilton…. sounds more like anti-UKIP mudslinging from a left leaning broadcaster.

    Didnt someone from UKIP hit you on the head with a brochure once, or was that Michael White? :-)

  10. Ken says:

    “Whatever the outcome of the allegations, this is yet more evidence of discord within Ukip”

    Nonsense. It is evidence that the media are trying to spin anything that anyone in UKIP does as being wrong, and evidence that UKIP are careful with their member’s money as the following paragraph shows:

    “Please do bear in mind that we receive at Lexdrum House handwritten letters from pensioners enclosing a £5 or a £10 note which they have managed to save so as to send it to Ukip and hence we need to make sure that all expenses are fully explainable.”

    I wish the other political parties were as careful and respectful of their member’s funds.

    This is actually an example of UKIP doing things right.

  11. Nigel Wilson says:

    How squalid.

    It makes one long for Godfrey Bloom, doesn’t it?

    Yet I have every confidence that Mrs Hamilton ensures that it is clean behind the fridge.

  12. icini123 says:

    UKIP are always willing to give people a second chance. Not however a third one.
    His “trial” was a civil one, for libel, that he instigated, not a criminal one. I hope Neil manages to explain his expenses, otherwise he’s out.

  13. Roger Arthur says:

    Many are disenchanted with the old political classes, not least because of the expenses scandal. So it is good to see that nobody is above the “law”, which is a principle of Magna Carta.

    If you put MPs with criminal convictions into Google, you will find that they are more likely to have a criminal conviction than the average member of the public. That is probably why they were (apparently asked) to undergo an ethics course, which includes advice on how to tell the truth.

    We don’t want any of those in UKIP.

  14. David Gale says:

    Is UKIP really trying to claim that it is not registered for VAT? How can an experienced journalist have missed that preposterous implication?

  15. David Wain says:

    Why do MP’s & party candidates think they can claim for every conceivable thing, don’t they get paid enough. It’s ridiculous that they can claim for slap up meals including drinks at nice places, why not give them luncheon vouchers to the value of £10 max, and make them stay at lodges & inns with a maximum of say £50 per night.

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