Not too surprisingly, the England Expects blog has set forth its own spin on Ashley Mote's recent imprisonment. This is unsurprising since England Expects is run by Gawain Towler, UKIPs urbane press officer in the European Parliament. In this case Gawain is spinning so hard that Monty Panesar is worrying about his place in the England team
: "the British courts have been trying to try the man for years, but the EU institutions allowed him to play the system."
However, Gawain is batting on a very sticky wicket here (as usual). On receiving the request to waiver Mr. Mote's immunity it took the European Parliament four months to waiver it. From that point on it was the British Courts' responsibility to imprison him; they did not. This eventually resulted in Mr. Mote's appeal against the waiver in 2007 - which the European Parliament denied in two months. But had the British Courts imprisoned him the first time around it would have never got to that stage.
So, he "played" the EU system for 6 months in total; whereas he played the British Courts for over three years.
Unfortunately for UKIP, Ashley Mote will not lose his seat and will keep his salary despite going to the slammer for nine months, allowing other parties to continue shaming UKIP for selecting him as one of their leading candidates. This is, much as UKIP would like to pretend otherwise, because of British law. MEP employment conditions are governed by whichever EU state they are elected in.
However, as Private Eye pointed out, if Mote were French then he would no longer be an MEP. French fascist Jean Marie Le-Pen got a three month suspended sentence for assault back in 1998 and had to give up his seat. Hmmnn maybe UKIP and the UK could learn something these foreigners…..