Former Batley and Spen parliamentary candidate suspended over expenses

Canvassing in Heckmondwike High Street back in 2010.
Canvassing in Heckmondwike High Street back in 2010.

A former Tory parliamentary candidate for Batley and Spen was suspended by UKIP over alleged expenses irregularities yesterday (Thursday).

Janice Atkinson, now a UKIP MEP for the south east, was suspended from the party for what it called “allegations of a serious financial nature”.

Atkinson (nee Small) stood against incumbent Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood (Lab) in the 2010 General Election. She later defected to UKIP and was elected as one of its members of the European Parliament in 2014.

A spokesman for the party said: “UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson suspended from the party and has had the whip removed, following allegations of a serious financial nature.

“The party is incredibly disappointed with Ms Atkinson, who appears to have exercised extremely poor judgement 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.”

The party did not go into any more detail about the allegations. Ms Atkinson’s suspension comes after a report in a national newspaper, which claimed her chief of staff asked for a restaurant invoice for more than triple what they paid, saying that they would claim it back from Brussels expenses.

Ms Atkinson enjoyed some fiery confrontations with Mr Wood during the 2010 election campaign.

During a hustings debate in May of that year, Mr Wood accused her of wanting to run an under-staffed constituency office and alleged she had the backing of UKIP. Ms Atkinson returned fire, telling him to shut up when he interrupted her and calling him childish when it appeared he had turned down the volume on the microphone when it was her turn to speak.

Ms Atkinson also hit the headlines last September when she was recorded by the BBC referring to a Thai woman as a “ting-tong”.