Farage should face 'highest penalty' possible over 'serious breach of conduct'

PUBLISHED: 08:55 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:01 27 June 2019

MEP and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA.

MEP and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

The European parliament's disciplinary body is recommending that Nigel Farage is given the 'highest penalty' for a 'serious breach' in its code of conduct - which could lead to a ban from the Strasbourg premises.

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The European parliament's Advisory Committee on the Conduct of Members also suggests referring the MEP to the European Anti-Fraud Office for further investigation.

The breaches of conduct surround allegations millionaire Brexit backer Banks gave Farage as much as £450,000 in kind following the EU referendum, which included a chauffeur-driven car, rent and bills on a £4.4m Chelsea home, and trips to the United States to meet right-wing politicians.

None of these gifts were declared on Farage's register of interest with the European parliament.

In the letter, leaked to Channel 4 News, the disciplinary committee tell the parliament's president Antonio Tajani that the parliament's authorities should "liaise and cooperate with the UK national investigatory authorities, including the National Crime Agency, the Electoral Commission and the Metropolitan Police, in order for the full facts to be established."

The highest penalty possible is likely to be a reprimand and temporary suspension from parliament for a month, which would mean such a politician would not be able to collect their daily allowance.

The European parliament look also set to recommend that the case is referred to the European Anti-Fraud Office for further investigation, and that it co-operates with the authorities in the United Kingdom including the National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police.

It states: "The Advisory Committee strongly believes that the circumstances of this case merit extensive further investigation with continuous EU-level supervision and cross-Member State collaboration, including third countries when necessary."

Asked why Farage did not declare the money at the time, he said: "It's a purely private matter, non-political in absolutely every way."

He told the BBC: "Whatever happened after the referendum - I was leaving politics, it happened mostly in America, it had nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with the Brexit Party, it was purely on a personal basis. I was looking for a new career and a new life - it's got nothing to do with anything, it's a purely private matter."

Commenting at the time of the original reports, Arron Banks said: "Channel 4's attempts to smear myself and Nigel come at a time when the Brexit Party is riding high in the polls, so it should come as no surprise to anyone."

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