UK Politics

Nigel Farage refuses to attend EU hearing into Arron Banks cash

Nigel Farage Image copyright Getty Images

Nigel Farage says he will not attend a committee investigating whether he broke European Parliament rules by accepting funding from Leave campaigner Arron Banks.

The Brexit Party leader has said he did not declare the £450,000 sum to the assembly because at the time, he was about to leave politics and had been seeking a new life in the US.

He said he had only been given 24 hours' notice to attend a meeting of the committee on Wednesday, which he branded a "kangaroo court".

The payments from Mr Banks were revealed by a Channel 4 News investigation last month.

Items paid for by him included Mr Farage's London home, his car and trips to the US to meet Donald Trump.

The committee had invited Mr Farage to appear in person to discuss his finances, but said it would have to be on Wednesday to fit it in before the end of the parliamentary session.

He was not under any obligation to appear before the committee, which will examine the case before advising European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

MEPs found to have acted improperly can be reprimanded, their parliamentary allowance can be withheld or they can be banned from some activities.

'Waste of money'

Arron Banks has said he had "willingly helped Farage and was honoured to do so", adding: "This was all designed to help Nigel get out of politics."

Mr Farage insisted he did not receive "any private money for political purposes".

"This committee would better spend its time investigating the waste of public money by well-known MEPs," he added.

Mr Farage has been a member of the European Parliament since 1999.

He led UKIP in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum, campaigning alongside Leave.EU, of which Mr Banks was a major financier.

Mr Farage stepped down as leader later the same year, but remained as an MEP before launching The Brexit Party in March this year.