One of UKIPwatch's helpers came across this intriguing letter from Roger Knapman in last week's Western Daily Press. Knapman welcomes the vote in the European Parliament to ban MEPs from employing family members as assistants, adding that "UKIP has a rule that MEPs should not employ their wives, agreed at the start of the 2004 Parliament". Indeed, Knapman goes on to say that "MEPs expenses should not be channelled into the pockets of their own family. That is a misuse of taxpayers' money".
This "rule" was agreed when Knapman was still leader of UKIP. However, his successor has shown less respect for the principle of not employing family members. Nigel Farage employs his wife Kirsten as a home based secretary and pays her an alleged £24,000 per year from his parliamentary allowance. It's fair to say that Knapman's "rule" is not being applied.
Roger also makes a not-so subtle dig when he says that "it seems some MEPs are paying their wives when little or no work is being done". To whom could he possibly be referring?!?!
Of course, it's no secret that Knapman and Farage hate each other. They had bitter disagreements over the handling of the Tom Wise scandal (when Knapman threatened to resign the whip) and it is rumoured that Knapman was responsible for telling the Sunday Times that Farage was employing his student son, a story which Farage refuted and the Times now seems to have agreed was baseless, as the story can no longer be found on the paper's website.
Honestly, can't they just play nicely?