:: Monday, April 05, 2004 ::

What's Up Doc?

Labour's bad news continued with Dr David Martin MEP's colleagues distancing themselves from him. Martin is currently facing a probe into alleged expenses irregularities. Dr Martin was previously involved in legal threats to suspend the Labour Party selection procedure for the Scottish list for Europe. He alleged that other candidates on the list had received extra publicity from the party. Although this problem was sorted out at the time, it seems that the bitterness caused by this dispute has lingered with the other candidates on the list not exactly leaping to Dr Martin's defence. Labour are likely to return fewer members to Europe due to the shrinking of Scottish representation. This is a result of EU expansion.

The Sunday Herald reports that the source of the allegations is Dr Martin's brother in law, upset at his upcoming divorce.

So what are the charges? The Scotsman explains:

The main accusation Mr Martin, a vice-president of the European Parliament, must answer is the charge he had created a situation which saw him personally benefit from almost £2,000 a month.

It is alleged he had transferred £1,400 a month from his Brussels office account to investment trusts and building-society accounts held in his name.

He received a further £400 a month from the European Parliament as a contribution to his pension. Labour Party rules say MEPs must repay this money via a standing order from their personal accounts and Mr Martin must explain why it appears that he failed to do so.

A newspaper yesterday reported the bulk of the money was paid every month to Mr Martin by the parliament to fund his employees’ salaries and pension entitlements.

A separate source confirmed this claim to The Scotsman last night and further confirmed the reported allegation that the MEP does not have any employees.

The source said: "Everyone who has been involved in this believes that David is in serious trouble, but there is now nothing that Labour can do and he must wait and see what the parliament’s investigation decides."

The whole incident is likely to damage not just Labour, but all parties in the elections. The portrayal of Brussels and Strasbourg as corrupt will increase voter apathy and drive turnout down.

Across Britain six council by-elections last week saw general swings against Labour. The main benefactors were liberal-democrats and the tories. Labour lost one safe seat to the Lib-Dems.
Disturbingly the fascist right gained 12% in one seat in Crewe whilst the little-Englanders of the UK Independence Party gained 19%. The results point to the worrying possibility of fascists winning a seat in the North-West of England at the European elections. Meanwhile the UKIP must be more confident about retaining their two seats.

:: Alister | 11:57 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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