So, after three and half years of evasion and delay, former UKIP MEP Ashley Mote has finally been jailed for 9 months after being convicted of 21 counts of fraud at Portsmouth Crown Court.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage was quick to respond, stating that he was “disgusted and horrified” by the “leniency” of the sentence. Of course, Mote’s sentence is the worst possible result for UKIP, who were desperately hoping he would get more than one year which would have forced him to resign, with the vacant seat falling to the next UKIP candidate on the list at the 2004 European election.
Incidentally, this verdict should come as a relief to the people of South-East England. Out of the 12 elected UKIP MEPs, Mote has been convicted of benefit fraud while East of England UKIP MEP Tom Wise is also facing allegations of misuse of public money. Besides, given that most UKIP MEPs, with several honourable exceptions, are famed for their idleness, Ashley Mote in prison will probably do more work than a UKIP replacement would.
As it is, in 2008 Mote will return to sit with Jean Marie Le Pen in the neo-fascist Identity, Sovereignty and Tradition group in the European Parliament. The message seems to be 'vote UKIP get jailed fascist'.