England

Ex-MEP Nikki Sinclaire 'expenses fears raised with UKIP'

Nikki Sinclaire Image copyright PA
Image caption Ms Sinclaire denies all charges

A former aide to an ex-UKIP MEP told the party of fears her expenses claims were being inflated six months before going to police, a court heard.

At Birmingham Crown Court John Ison said Nikki Sinclaire compared one reimbursement - about £500 - to a deposit for a parliamentary candidate.

Ms Sinclaire denies misconduct in public office between 1 October 2009 and 31 July 2010, while a serving MEP.

She submitted expenses in excess of flight costs, the prosecution said.

Ms Sinclaire, 47, of Shirley, Solihull, further denies claims that between 14 October 2009 and 31 December 2010 she fraudulently transferred criminal property into her bank account.

'Instructed to get receipt'

The misconduct charge relates to making or causing to be made false or dishonest claims for travel expenses.

Mr Ison told the court how she "instructed" him to get a cash receipt when picking up a new car for her in 2010.

He also told how during a drive with her from a Christmas party in Telford, Shropshire, in 2009, she had asked him to remind her to fill up at a petrol station.

Mr Ison said: "She told me that if she had a cash receipt for petrol, she could claim for mileage at 78p per mile against the travel expenses of her expenses allowance in the European Parliament.

"She then equated this reimbursement she would get to the equivalent of a deposit for a parliamentary candidate would need to stand for election - that would have been for the general election in 2010 about £500."

Mr Ison was accused in court of being a "mole" for the UKIP leadership.

He was accused of stealing documents and making secret recordings while working for Ms Sinclaire "to further your own position and ingratiate yourself with the party leadership", by the ex-MEP's barrister, Sean Hammond.

Judge Stephen Eye QC told Mr Ison he could "decline to answer" any question which might incriminate him, but he denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Ison said he raised concerns over her travel expenses with then fellow party West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass in November 2009.

After she had the UKIP party whip removed, Mr Ison tendered his resignation and ceased working for her at the end of March 2010.

Ms Sinclaire, West Midlands MEP until 2014, is on bail. The trial continues.

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