UKIP suspends MEP Janice Atkinson over “serious financial” allegations

High-profile party member was prospective MP for Folkestone and Hythe

UKIP has moved swiftly to suspend one of its most high-profile members over allegations of a “serious financial nature”.

The party is yet to issue a statement explaining precisely why Atkinson has been suspended, but the move is understood to be related to a secret film made by The Sun.

The Sun’s footage apparently uncovers evidence that Atkinson was “plotting to make a substantial bogus expenses claim”, the newspaper reports, after an assistant asked a hotel to make out an invoice for £3,150 for a lunch during the party’s spring conference that had reportedly only cost £950.

A UKIP spokesman said: “The party is incredibly disappointed with Ms Atkinson, who appears to have exercised extremely poor judgment in acting in a way that the party has never, and would never condone. The party has acted swiftly and immediately, and just as we showed when we suspended another MEP for financial irregularities, we always maintain a zero tolerance attitude towards acts of this nature.”

It’s not the first time Atkinson’s poor judgement has been on public display. Last year Atkinson was forced to apologise after describing a Thai woman as “a Ting Tong from somewhere”.

Farage “shocked”

Speaking to the Telegraph, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: “If what she has been suspended for is right I am astonished she could have done something quite so stupid. I am very, very shocked and surprised.

“It looks like a claim that wasn’t made, I am pleased to say, but a claim that was intended to be made that may not have been as genuine as perhaps it should have been.

“It would appear there was the intention to produce a receipt that may not have been genuine.”

Atkinson’s suspension is bad timing for the party. With less than fifty days to go until the election there will not be much time to find a suitable replacement candidate for the Folkestone and Hythe constituency - one the party believed it had a good chance of winning.

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