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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

BNP chief Nick Griffin claims £200,000 Euro expenses

BNP leader Nick Griffin was accused of joining “the expenses gravy train” today after it emerged that he has claimed hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The British National Party chief, who was elected last year as Euro MP for the North West of England, has submitted claims for more than £200,000 for his work in Brussels.

The costs, which come on top of his £82,000 MEP salary, include some £18,000 in “consultancy fees” and £10,000 in “agent fees”.

The BNP leader won his party's first seats in Strasbourg after attacking MPs for having their “snouts in the trough”.

After being accused of failing to be more open about his expenses, he has now published a version of his claims on his personal website.

Mr Griffin claimed £175,000 in “staff costs” for eight employees with titles ranging from “European researcher” to “campaigns co-ordinator”. A further £31,000 was for “office management costs”, including an office in his home. His “office costs” included £2,800 on “furnishings” and over £4,000 on “repair, maintenance and security”. Mr Griffin made a pre-election pledge to be transparent about his expenses. But he is yet to reveal how much he has claimed of his £270-a-day MEP's subsistence allowance, worth £40,000 tax-free every year, or how much he has claimed for travel.

Fellow BNP MEP Andrew Brons has not published any details of his expenses. He and Mr Griffin are jointly entitled to expenses of up to £530,000 a year. As well as staff allowances, both receive a “general expenditure allowance” worth more than £44,000 annually.

A spokesman for campaign group Searchlight said: “Griffin talked a good game on expenses before the election, but as soon as he got to Brussels he couldn't wait to jump aboard the euro expenses gravy train.”

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