Former UKIP MEP Ashley Mote jailed for expenses fraud

A former MEP for the UK Independence Party has been jailed for fraudulently claiming more than £500,000 in expenses.

Ashley Mote, who was a Member of the European Parliament for South East England from 2004 until 2009, has been convicted of 12 charges related to the fraud.

Mote was elected on a UKIP ticket, but continued to sit in the Parliament as an independent after having the UKIP whip withdrawn in 2004. He did not stand for re-election after his term expired.

In May this year, the former MEP was convicted of four counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception, three of false accounting, two of fraud, and one each of acquiring criminal property, concealing criminal property and theft.

At Southwark Crown Court, he was today jailed for five years.

Justice Stuart Smith accused him of attempting to “milk” the European Parliament, and treating it as a “cash cow” to exploit.

The judge told him: “Your greed and dishonesty were matched only by your hypocrisy because while this was going on you carried out a high-profile campaign condemning corruption and the improper use of public money in the very institution from which you were leeching it.”

He continued: “You abused your position of trust as an elected representative and you abused the trust that the European parliament placed in you, consistently making false statements in the knowledge that the institutions trusted their MEPs to be reliable and honest.

“Along the way you deceived people who shared your declared political ideals and even considered you to be something of a political hero.”