Hannan: European Anti-Fraud Body Won't Charge Farage, UK Establishment Misunderstands
Leading Conservative Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan has taken to his Telegraph blog to insist that European Anti-Fraud authorities will not find against UKIP leader Nigel Farage, implying that the Times and others reporting on the issue simply misunderstand how the MEP's allowances work.
Yesterday, the Times provoked a row across political and media circles, by claiming that EU anti-fraud body OLAF was 'investigating' Nigel Farage for over-claiming for UKIP office costs. But not only did the Times' sources demand it had misrepresented their case, but even Conservative Party officials such as Hannan claimed they got it wrong. Hannan, who is no fan of Farage, wrote:
"I can predict one thing with certainty about l'affaire Farage: OLAF, the EU's anti-fraud office, will not find against the Ukip leader. This is because the sum in question is an allowance, not a claim. It is handed over unconditionally, with no requirement for receipts. Much of the row of the past 24 hours is based on a misunderstanding of this point and, in fairness, it is quite a hard concept to grasp. The 'general expenses allowance' is supposed to cover all the expenses related to an MEP's constituency work: office rent, telephone bills, postage, equipment and so on. But there is no itemisation of bills, and certainly no verification. When one of my British colleagues found himself with a slight surplus, and asked how to return it, he was told it couldn't be done".
Hannan elaborated on the issue back in 2009 for the Daily Mail, where he outlined just how complex the EU allowances system is.
The charges against the Times as UKIP sources tell Breitbart London, is now that either their journalists fundamentally do not understand the allowances system, or that the past 24 hours of attacks are part of a concerted effort to attack UKIP ahead of the European Parliamentary elections.