UKIP leader Nigel Farage and his Euro MPs claimed nearly £800,000 in expenses and allowances from the EU in one year while campaigning for Britain to leave.
UKIP’s grasping MEPs billed taxpayers £370,000 for office costs and got nearly £420,000 subsistence allowances for meals and hotels.
And they boosted UKIP coffers with more than £400,000 donations of their own money ahead of May’s Euro elections.
MEP and deputy party leader Paul Nuttall employed 12 members of staff at public expense. Mr Farage and East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer even put their wives on the Brussels payroll. The German wife Kirsten earned up to £30,000 [wunderbar!] while Sara Helmer pocketed up to £20,000.
A source said: “Farage makes a big thing of pretending UKIP are different from other parties. But this shows they’re even worse.”
Papers seen by the Sunday Mirror show UKIP MEPs claimed an average of £35,635 each in “general expenditure allowances” in 2012.
Officials say the cash should cover “office management costs”.
The allowances came on top of their £79,000 salaries, first class travel expenses and “daily subsistence allowance”.
UKIP MEPs claimed the daily allowance for an average of 86 days each, in accordance with EU rules. Labour MEPs claimed around 128 days each, suggesting they were in Parliament more often [in order to sign the attendance book and then leave?]
Mr Nuttall, North West MEP, claimed the daily subsistence allowance just 30 times in 2012 and has donated £12,400 to UKIP since election in 2009, according to the Electoral Commission. His allowances claims last year ran to £40,436. He was among seven MEPs who gave UKIP a total of £425,978 in cash and other benefits after election.
The others are: Derek Clark, East Midlands, £56,822 general and subsistence allowances, £187,000 party donations since 2004; Stuart Agnew, East of England, £78,486 allowances, £31,000 donations since 2009; Mike Nattrass, West Midlands, £59,845 allowances, £96,000 donations since 2004, resigned in September; Godfrey Bloom, Yorkshire and Humber, £46,722 allowances, £72,000 donations since 2004. He quit the UKIP Euro MPs group after saying British aid went to “bongo bongo land”.
MEPs who made no donations but claimed allowances include: Gerard Batten, London, £51,977; John Bufton, Wales, £49,550; William Legge, South West, £53,813 and Roger Helmer, East Midlands, £67,410.
Mr Farage’s allowances of £61,065 only includes subsistence for the last six months. In 2009, he said his MEPs would “provide a quarterly expenses statement”. We found they have not published any for more than a year. Campaign group European Movement UK said: “UKIP’s position is hypocritical.”
UKIP said: “Our MEPs claim allowances like other MEPs. Mr Farage employs his wife because his office is in his home for which he doesn’t charge the taxpayer.”