After a report in the Daily Mail on how MEPs from various parties, including the Tories and UKIP, are exploiting the systems in the European Parliament to maximise their personal income, tonight's edition of Dispatches on Channel 4 reveals the extent of corruption and waste within the European Union.
British National Party MEP Nick Griffin, welcomed both exposés as being in the public interest, but he took the Daily Mail to task for misrepresenting his English Fair Fund.
“The newspaper acknowledged that the money in this fund comes from his salary as well as from expense allowances, but reported inaccurately that it has been spent on items specifically for use by BNP members.
"That's not correct," said Mr. Griffin.
"The marquee and kayaks and safety equipment are for use by any group or organisation within my North West Constituency. They have also been used at a BNP Family Weekend, not least because we needed photos and video of them in use in order to advertise them as available for any good cause that can use them to raise money or involve young people.
“Over £10,000 from my English Fair Fund has so far been given to good causes or spent on equipment for the benefit of the constituents. We have searched the websites and blogs of many other UK MEPs and, as far as we can ascertain, Andrew Brons (BNP MEP for Yorkshire) and I are the only two who donate to good causes in fulfilment of pledges we made prior to our election,” he continued.
“I donate 10 percent of my gross salary to the fund, plus whatever is left over from our fixed rate attendance allowance and mileage reimbursement.
“This has enabled me to donate £500 to a North West based group of volunteers sending parcels to our troops in Afghanistan and parcels handed out to people in the shelter after the Salford gas explosion.
“I have also helped charities protecting Britain's industrial heritage and sports clubs. I also gave £1,000 to the Cumbrian Flood Appeal, and at this moment I have several thousand pounds still in the account waiting for suitable applicants from my constituency.
"It is clear that the vast majority of MEPs either trouser this money for themselves, or use it to fund their own parties.
“I am very proud that BNP MEPs are the only ones regularly giving decent taxpayers something back by helping local good causes. I have met a number of people who voted for us specifically on the strength of this pledge, and who have been delighted that our promises are being kept.
“It is a shame that media investigations into the Brussels gravy train have seen fit to confuse our giving our money to help good causes with the way in which MEPs from other parties line their own pockets” Mr Griffin said.
The Dispatches programme reveals how some MEPs, including several from UKIP, have abused the rules to pocket as much cash as possible. While Westminster has tightened up on the expenses system, Brussels still hands out some cash allowances without the need for receipts.