Ukip rebut sleaze and discrimination claims

The UK Independence Party (Ukip) today suspended one of their MEPs while defending itself against claims of discrimination among the grass roots.

Tom Wise, one the party’s 10 MEPs, has been suspended from the Ukip group in the European Parliament over an investigation into alleged financial irregularities.

The European Anti Fraud Office is now investigating after Mr Wise failed to provide information about the supposed irregularities.

Ukip party chairman John Whittaker said: “This decision should in no way be interpreted as prejudicial to the outcome of that enquiry.”

“The decision was taken at a meeting of the MEPs in Brussels,” said Dr
Whittaker, “which was the first opportunity we have had to discuss this matter.”

Ukip has also been forced to defend itself against claims they barred a candidate from standing as a candidate in a local election because he was disabled.

Jack Biggs, 65, told local press that Ukip had “barred” him from standing as a candidate for Wyke Regis after he revealed he was “useless” at canvassing following a double knee operation.

He was instead offered a paper seat, regarded as “un-winnable”.

Ukips maintain that they have “bent over backwards” to help Mr Biggs and offered him a paper candidacy when he “admitted that he could not take on the responsibility of being a full candidate”.

When asked if Mr Biggs had been offered an “un-winnable seat”, a spokeswoman responded: “Is there a ban on people voting for Ukip?”

Ukip dispute claims that they have discriminated against Mr Biggs, accusing him of launching a “deliberate smear campaign” prompted by Ukip’s decision to run a local candidate against his daughter.

Last week Ukip confirmed that the Electoral Commission has ordered it to forfeit £363,697 of donations for breach of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.