Peter Hoskin

Will Nick Griffin become a victim of his own expense claims?

Will Nick Griffin become a victim of his own expense claims?
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If two things fuelled the rise of the BNP last year, then they were probably the mainstream parties' reluctance to talk about immigration and a general disillusionment with Westminster politicians in the wake of the expenses scandal.  There are tentative signs that the parties are getting their act together on the first.  And, now, Nick Griffin  may have undermined his own party when it comes to the second.

After coming under fire for not being transparent about expenses since becoming an MEP, Griffin has now published a very loose account of them on his website.  The bottom line is that they add up to over £200,000, but here's some detail courtesy of Paul Waugh's report in the Standard:

"The costs, which come on top of his £82,000 MEP salary, include some £18,000 in 'consultancy fees' and £10,000 in 'agent fees'.

...

Mr Griffin claimed £175,000 in 'staff costs' for eight employees with titles ranging from 'European researcher' to 'campaigns co-ordinator'. A further £31,000 was for 'office management costs', including an office in his home. His 'office costs' included £2,800 on 'furnishings' and over £4,000 on 'repair, maintenance and security'. Mr Griffin made a pre-election pledge to be transparent about his expenses. But he is yet to reveal how much he has claimed of his £270-a-day MEP's subsistence allowance, worth £40,000 tax-free every year, or how much he has claimed for travel."

And this from a leader whose campaign literature claimed that "We're NOT in it for the money".  Whether or not these claims are strictly legitimate, they certainly don't help Griffin's cause.