Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Francis Chichester’

Tory Leader’s Whoops-a-Daisy Moment

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 5th June, 2008

The leader of the British Conservatives in the European Parliament, Giles Chichester, has resigned, after informing an alarmed Central Office that he would not be able to justify by 4pm tomorrow apparently paying nearly half a million pounds of pounds of his expenses to a company of which he is a director. The company, founded by his father, the round-the-wolrd yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester, is said to have received £445,000 from EU taxpayers’ money since 1996 ‘in connection with secretarial and assistant services for the European Parliament, constituency and committee work’ for the MEP. Mr Chichester has admitted this flaw in his financial arrangements, but has dismissed it as a ‘whoops-a-daisy moment’. The irony is that David Cameron recently gave him the job of drawing up a code of conduct for Tory MEPs’ expenses.

Once again, Chris Davies, the LibDem MEP for the North West, has been calling for a tightening up of the European Parliament’s rules, and he is understandably frustrated that many continental MEPs, not least from Italy and Greece, are determined to keep as much in the dark as possible. However, there will be changes for the better next year, in time for the 2009 Euro-parliamentary elections, thanks to new rules and I will be campaigning hard for full transparency.

One party which will be particularly pleased with today’s Tory clip-up, however, is UKIP. A little bird tells me that yet another of their MEPs will no longer be sitting with them as from today, not to follow his former colleague Ashley Mote into prison, but to join Robert Kilroy-Silk into the political wilderness. Watch this space! 

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