The long running saga of disgraced former UKIP MEP Ashley Mote's attempt to avoid justice for multiple counts of benefit fraud may finally have come to an end. Mote used every single procedural trick imaginable to block and delay his prosecution. With criminal proceedings against him beginning just before his election in May 2004, he was able to delay until finally being sentenced in September 2007.
What is galling is that Mr. Mote, having served his time (albeit just 3 months out of a 9 month prison sentence) and returned to Parliament, sought to overturn the Parliament's decision to waive his immunity, challenging the legality of the decision and suing for the Parliament to pay all costs. It was unquestionably the right thing to do when the European Parliament took the overwhelming decision in 2005 to waive his immunity, in order to allow criminal prosecution for multiple benefit fraud to be brought against him. Happily, the European Court of First Instance slapped down his case this month. Publishing their decision on Wednesday last week, the judges dismissed the case as "inadmissible" and "unfounded."
But it is the hypocrisy and the desperation of Mote's newest ploy to evade both the voter and the law that is most shocking. Having spent years decrying the 'supposed' wastefulness of the Parliament's budget (which incidentally costs the individual taxpayer a mere £4.46 yearly, as opposed to £11.40 for the Commons), Mr. Mote sought to burden the taxpayer with upwards of £70,000 in legal costs. This comes on top of the £65,000 he defrauded from the taxpayer in benefits. Pots, kettles and dark colours spring to mind.
Furthermore, 4 years in office have seen a large portion of his time divided between prison and fighting his case. The voter, needless to say, hasn't had much of a look in. Indeed this latest episode smacks of a last desperate attempt to shore up what tatters of credibility he thinks he (but probably doesn't) has left. Given Mr. Mote's record, (and the recent rumours that he is trying to stand for the BNP in the South-East) he can't be looking forward to the voters' verdict on his work in the upcoming European elections. Voters in the South East were deceived in 2004 and have had their good faith abused since. It must be comforting to know that the malignant Mr. Mote will be given the boot in a little over 8 months time.