Another day, another UKIP MEP is suspended from the party following an expenses scandal. Last week, Janice Atkinson — UKIP MEP for the South East and general election candidate for Folkestone and Hythe — was suspended from UKIP following allegations of a serious financial nature.
Time and time again, Farage has tried to distance himself from UKIP’s endless parade of suspensions, scandals, resignations and defections.
After no fewer than 25% of all UKIP MEPs in the 2004-2009 Parliament had left UKIP for one of these reasons — several in trouble with the law — Farage told us that these were teething problems for a new party, and that they would choose their candidates more carefully in the future.
But in the 2009-2014 Parliament, things got even worse. Well over a third (5 out of 13) of their MEPs were no longer with them by the end. Of these, two jumped ship to the Tories — though they did receive a Tory defector in return, the climate change denier Roger Helmer — and another was arrested and charged.
Ahead of last year’s European elections, we were yet again told that UKIP’s revolving door was a thing of the past. But, less than a year into the five-year parliament, two have already gone: Amjad Bashir and Janice Atkinson.
In all, since 2005, UKIP has chalked up an astounding 5 suspensions, 3 defections, 1 arrest and 2 convictions — I’ve put together a summary on this new webpage. And that’s just their MEPs. Lib Dem commentator Giles Goodall recently did the maths:
#Ukip has now suspended 18 councillors, 14 candidates, 2 MEPs, 1 national secretary, 1 youth sec, 1 Scottish chair & an entire local branch
— Giles Goodall (@GoodallGiles) March 19, 2015
It comes as no surprise that all of UKIP’s MEP defections since 2005 have been to the Conservative party, and the defection to them has been a Tory, just as in Westminster. Not only does this reinforce UKIP’s standing as the party of eurosceptic Tories, but also signals their dedication to betraying the electorate — who presumably voted for their representatives on the basis of their political platform.