EX UKIP MEP Charged With Fraud

Former UKIP MEP Ashley Mote has been charged with fraud offences and misconduct in public office.

Mote faces nine charges allegedly committed between 2004 and 2009. They include obtaining a money transfer by deception, fraud by false representation, false accounting, and receiving the proceeds of crime.

The ex MEP will appear before magistrates next month.

He was an MEP at the time of the alleged offences, but resigned his seat in 2009 prior to the European elections.

Mote was convicted of benefit fraud in 2007 for which he served a nine-month prison sentence and was described by the trial judge as “a truly dishonest man”


Ukip has lost almost one in 10 county councillors who won seats in 2013

Farage. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA

Farage. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA



Farage’s party down by 12 county representatives out of 139, just a year on from May 2013 poll, Guardian research shows

Ukip has lost almost one in 10 of the county councillors who won their seats when the party made a breakthrough at last year’s local elections, research by the Guardian has found.

A year on from the May 2013 poll, the party is down by 12 county representatives out of the 139 who were elected.

The majority of new Ukip county councillors appear to have been working actively in their communities over the past 12 months, with statistics showing they have the best attendance record of any party at more than 92% of compulsory meetings. In many areas, they have fought to limit councillor allowances and perks, campaigned against HS2 and mounted protests against EU flags being flown in town halls.

However, the band of newly elected councillors also appears to have been plagued by a disproportionate number of controversies. They include Peter Lagoda in Cambridgeshire, who has pleaded guilty to benefit fraud amounting to almost £25,000; Matthew Smith in Norfolk, who was charged with electoral fraud earlier this year; and Peter Georgiou, also in Norfolk, who resigned after admitting to shoplifting from Poundstretcher

Among those who have held on to their jobs is Victoria Ayling in Lincolnshire, now a parliamentary candidate, who was filmed saying she would like to “send the lot back”. Ayling claimed she had been referring to illegal immigrants.

A number of others left the party after controversies over remarks made on social media. Eric Kitson of Worcestershire resigned after posting anti-Muslim and antisemitic messages on Facebook. Chris Pain, formerly opposition leader on Lincolnshire county council, was also criticised after his Facebook page carried a post referring to “sandal-wearing, bomb-making, camel-riding … ragheads”. He denied posting the comments and said his Facebook page was hacked. However, he was expelled from the party in a separate feud with the leadership and took four county councillors with him to form a new group – Independence from Ukip. One of those who left to join his breakaway group was Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright, whose Facebook page included a post saying: “Bottom line is we have too many muslims [sic] in this country!”

Others to have left include the Worcestershire councillor Martin Jenkins, who resigned in protest at the party’s anti-gay marriage stance, and a Somerset councillor, Nigel Pearson, who had “irreconcilable differences” with his local party. A Worcestershire councillor, Tony Baker, died after just five weeks in office and the seat was retaken in a byelection by a Conservative.

Over the year, the party has gained new councillors through defections on a district, borough and town level, with 19 coming from Labour and the Conservatives in London alone. However, its county council losses during the year are many times higher than the other parties, with overall levels of Conservative and Labour councillors remaining almost stable.

Dr Matthew Goodwin, a politics expert at Nottingham University, said this would not undermine Ukip’s support and, in fact, the controversies may add to its appeal.

“While it is tempting to think the performance of radical right councillors or members of the European parliament might impact on their support, it clearly does not,” he said.

“With the radical right, and figures like [party leader Nigel] Farage, it is as if voters are willing to give them a free pass – to use them as a vehicle through which they can express their intensely held concerns over Europe, immigration and the state of our politics while overlooking their own failings or those of individual councillors and candidates. Indeed the past two months of British politics have made one thing clear; lining up voices in the establishment to denounce or ridicule an anti-establishment revolt does not work. If anything, it simply adds to their appeal.”

Ukip’s high drop-out rate is mirrored in the European parliament, where it has lost a third of its representatives since the last election for Brussels.

However, Farage has claimed his councillors are coming under unfair scrutiny as other parties trawl through social media for misdemeanours. The party has also launched a fightback by highlighting bad behaviour by councillors from other parties, including a Lib Dem borough councillor in Sutton recently convicted of racially aggravated assault.

Countering claims it has picked candidates for this month’s district, borough and town council elections with racist views, Farage held an event showcasing the party’s supporters from ethnic minorities last week. But this was undermined this week by the resignation of young Ukip rising star Sanya-Jeet Thandi, who left on the grounds that she believes the party has descended into a terrifying “form of racist populism”.

Ukip did not respond when asked to comment on the number of councillors who have left the party.

The Guardian


Community order for UKIP’ councillor Peter Lagoda over benefit fraud

Peter Lagoda

Peter Lagoda

A UKIP councillor who admitted benefit fraud has been sentenced to a community order.

Cllr Peter Lagoda, who was elected to Cambridgeshire County Council in May, was made subject to the order for 12 months at Peterborough Crown Court after admitting making a false representation to gain benefits.

Lagoda had claimed he lived in South Beach, Cambridgeshire, when instead he shared a property in Wisbech with then girlfriend and now wife, Maria Lagoda.

She was also sentenced to a 12-month community order after admitting six counts of failing to notify the authorities of a change in circumstances.

It had been alleged the councillor and his wife falsely claimed £11,565 in income support, £2,346 in council tax and £10,949 in housing benefit.

Lagoda was suspended from UKIP when he was charged but remains a councillor, representing Wisbech South.

The pair initially denied all the charges, which related to the period between June 2008 and November 2010, but changed their pleas last month.

Cambridge News


UKIP admits it ‘couldn’t just walk away from Europe’ as it would cost nation jobs

Janice Atkinson

Janice Atkinson

A top UKIP candidate has admitted Britain cannot just “walk away from Europe” – because it could cost jobs.

Janice Atkinson, the party’s high-profile MEP candidate for the South East, said any withdrawal from Brussels would take “years”.

The remarks proved Nigel Farage was “putting millions of British jobs at risk”, the Lib Dems said today.

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem President, said: “Pulling out of the EU would be a disaster for Britain, wrecking the recovery and putting British jobs and businesses in jeopardy.

“Only the Liberal Democrats are standing up for British jobs and standing up to UKIP.

“That’s why Nick Clegg challenged Nigel Farage to an in/out debate and it’s why the Liberal Democrats are fighting to keep Britain in Europe.”

Ms Atkinson made the comments at a UKIP rally in Brighton earlier this month after being asked exactly how Britain would leave the EU.

She said: “We won’t get into the nitty gritty of it…it will take years of negotiation to come out.

“It won’t just be a cut-off because there are jobs involved… we are discussing internally how we try to handle that at the moment – you can’t just walk away.”

A UKIP spokesman today insisted “no jobs” would be put at risk by pulling out of the EU.

He said: “This party is for withdrawing from the EU. That can be done in a variety of ways.

“Once we are in a position to take Britain out of the EU, we naturally favour doing so in a responsible manner.

“But it is worth pointing out that no jobs depend on membership of the EU other than the jobs of EU bureaucrats.”

UKIP was also facing calls to sack another one of its MEP candidates today over “incredibly offensive” remarks made on Twitter.

Bassetlaw MP John Mann said the UKIP leader should remove the party’s East Midlands candidate Nigel Wickens over a series of tweets – including one in which he likened the EU to Nazi Germany.

On February 10, Mr Wickens tweeted:

Mr Mann, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Anti Semitism said: “How can any decent human being compare the European Union to Nazi Germany.

“You don’t have to like the EU but to compare it to a regime that orchestrated the deaths of 6 million Jews and others is beyond belief.”

He added: “These comments clearly show that Nigel Wickens is not fit for public office. I suggest he visits Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre to see what the Nazi regime did and get a true sense of perspective regarding the European Union.”

“I am calling on Nigel Farage to remove him from his party immediately. The voters of the East Midlands deserve better than this.”

UKIP has refused to comment on Mr Mann’s demand.

In a further blow to the party, one of its county councillors – and his wife – admitted swindling nearly £25,000 through benefit fraud.

Cllr Peter Lagoda, 59, and his wife Maria, also 59, changed their plea to guilty at the start of their trial.

The pair had been accused of giving Fenland District Council a false address in a bid to claim extra benefits.

Mr Lagoda had claimed he lived in South Beach, Cambridgeshire, when instead he shared a property in Wisbech with his wife.

It had been alleged the councillor and his wife falsely claimed £11,565 in income support, £2,346 in council tax and £10,949 in housing benefit.

But despite originally pleading not guilty in April last year at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court the pair have now admitted all the charges against them.

Mr Lagoda was suspended from UKIP after being charged by Cambridgeshire Constabulary with the fraud.

The pair will now be sentenced on March 28 at the same court.

The Mirror


UKIP’s Councillor Peter Lagoda and wife Maria plead guilty to £25k benefit fraud

Peter Lagoda

Peter Lagoda

A UKIP county councillor and his wife have admitted swindling nearly £25,000 through benefit fraud.

Cllr Peter Lagoda, 59, and his wife Maria, also 59, today dramatically changed their plea to guilty at the start of their trial.

The pair had been accused of giving Fenland District Council a false address in a bid to claim extra benefits.

Lagoda had claimed he lived in South Beach, Cambridgeshire, when instead he shared a property in Wisbech with his wife.

It had been alleged the councillor and his wife falsely claimed £11,565 in income support, £2,346 in council tax and £10,949 in housing benefit.

But despite originally pleading not guilty in April last year at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court the pair have now admitted all the charges against them.

Peterborough Crown Court heard how all the dishonesty had stretched for more than two years between June 2008 and November 2010.

Lagoda had been elected to represent Wisbech South on Cambridgeshire County Council in May last year.

But he was suspended from UKIP after being charged by Cambridgeshire Constabulary with the fraud.

The pair will now be sentenced on March 28 at the same court.

A council spokesman said: “Cllr Lagoda’s status as a councillor remains unchanged until the outcome of any sentencing hearing is known.

“As such it would be wrong for the authority to comment any further.”

Cambridge News


UKIP Distances Itself From Councillor Peter Lagoda Over ‘Disturbing Racist Language’

Peter Lagoda

Peter Lagoda

Ukip has been forced to distance itself from local councillor Peter Lagoda over “disturbing” remarks he made during an impromptu visit to a fire station in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.

Lagoda, who was suspended by Ukip last year after being charged with benefit fraud, admitted to the Huffington Post UK that while in “private conversation” with the firefighters about his family, he described his north African sister as a “w*g” and his relatives living in Germany as “Mongols” who had children with “slanty eyes”.

“Yes, my cousin married Mongols and now all their little children are ever so cute and they have slanty eyes,” Lagoda said in a telephone interview with HuffPost UK.

Despite being forced by the local Ukip group to write a letter of apology to the firefighters after his visit last month, Lagoda insisted that the furore was “ridiculous, over-the-top” and that the letter “shouldn’t have gone out”.

The Wisbech councillor, who is still listed as representing Ukip on the council website and remains a Ukip member, defended his remarks as the correct dictionary definitions and accused the firefighters of misunderstanding him.

“They’ve taken it the wrong way and my English must be far greater than theirs because I looked in the dictionary and a person from Mongolia is called a Mongol. It’s always the British that bastardize words.”

The term “w*g”, described by most dictionaries as derogatory and offensive, usually refers to a dark-skinned or olive-skinned person from Africa and Asia, and is believed to be derived from the “golliwog” blackface minstrel doll.

Lagoda’s remarks about his “w*g” sister and “Mongol” relatives having children with “slanty eyes” have been condemned by local politicians.

Councillor Martin Curtis, Tory leader of Cambridgeshire County Council told HuffPostUK: “Of course this sort of language from county councillors horrifies me, what concerns me even more is how it fits into an increasingly disturbing picture about how poorly Wisbech is represented.

“As far as the County Council is concerned it is becoming clear that Wisbech is representational vacuum. The councillors are clearly more interested in causing controversy than they are in standing up and representing a very important market town.”

Tory Stephen Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, warned: “If racist language was used by a county councillor then it is deeply disturbing.”

A Ukip spokesperson made clear that the party takes the incident “very seriously indeed” but made clear: “Councillor Lagoda was suspended from the party before this incident occurred. He is not an acting councillor for Ukip now and he was not an acting councillor for UKIP at the time of this incident.”

Cllr Lagoda’s remarks during his visit to the fire station in January alongside current Ukip councillor Paul Clapp caused one of the firefighters to lodge an official complaint about being left feeling “uncomfortable”.

“I…should have challenged that language but thought it may be a generation thing and hopefully he wouldn’t repeat this type of language and I did not want to get into any arguments,” the firefighter wrote.

Lagoda, a former Conservative councillor, told the firefighters during his visit that he would help fight cuts aimed at the local fire station and thanked them for attending in a guard of honour for his father, who was an ex-firefighter.

This is not the first controversy Ukip has had to deal with about a politician’s remarks, after former MEP Godfrey Bloom caused outrage last year when he was recorded warning that foreign aid should not go to “bongo bongo land”.

The Huffington Post