Lincolnshire

Outgoing Lincolnshire UKIP MEP denies allegations of misusing EU funds

Outgoing UKIP MEP for Lincolnshire and the East Midlands Roger Helmer has claimed he knows as much as journalists do about an investigation into his alleged misuse of public funds.

The 73-year-old, who is retiring from the European Parliament on July 31, could be forced to repay around £100,000 in EU money for staff expenses which were potentially misspent.

The case centres on him employing Paul Oakden as his assistant, while Oakden was UKIP party chairman.

MEPs are banned from hiring full-time assistants who have jobs in national political parties.

These allegations have been denied by Helmer.

A European Parliament spokeswoman told the BBC she could not comment on Helmer’s case, but said money paid to an assistant must be for work relating to the member’s mandate in the parliament.

She added that the administration could reclaim funds if justifications and clarifications for the use of money are not forthcoming.

Helmer was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999, as a Conservative.

In 2012, he crossed the floor to join UKIP, and was re-elected to serve a five-year term in 2014.

Helmer is expected to be replaced by the next candidate on UKIP’s East Midlands candidate list, Jonathan Bullock.