Responding to the report in today’s (25 February) Sunday Times regarding alleged misappropriation of European parliament allowances by Tom Wise MEP, party chairman Dr John Whittaker has issued the following statement.
“The European parliament has already conducted its own enquiry into this matter in early 2006. Although it found that Mr Wise had infringed the rules about handling parliamentary allowances, its conclusion was that ‘Parliament Services are satisfied that Mr Wise’s financial position vis-à-vis parliament in respect of allowances he has received are correct and intend no further action in this regard.’
“The UK Independence Party would never condone the misuse of public money. It will respect the results of the OLAF enquiry into this matter and will take whatever steps it deems appropriate as a consequence of that enquiry.”
Now, not to cast any aspersions on OLAF itself, obviously, but its own affairs are far from being either transparent or entirely honest.
However, it has to be said that Tom Wise MEP, a former policeman (no comment on that score), acted extemely foolishly at best. However, it is not correct to assert, as Richard North does, that "Wise is shown to be a serial embezzler".
Why? Well, Dr North points out that the points are similar to an earlier incident.
Much of the detail is similar to the original investigation into Wise's affairs in 2005, also by Foggo, then working for The Sunday Telegraph.
That is because the story concerns precisely the same incident.
I would reiterate that all of these recent incidents took place under a former leader; I have been assured, to my satisfaction, that the current leadership is absolutely determined to root out those who are attempting either to destroy or pervert the party. They are also determined to ensure that total financial propriety is observed.
More news as I get it.
UPDATE: Tom Wise has been suspended from the party by the current leadership, pending the results of the OLAF investigation.