The following is a statement from Neil Hamilton regarding allegations of impropriety over expenses.

UKIP National Executive clears Neil Hamilton of any impropriety following 'expenses fiddling' slurs

In a meeting with Neil and Christine Hamilton, Nigel Farage has apologised on behalf of UKIP for the leak of a letter wrongly implying he was suspected of improperly claiming expenses.

UKIP Chairman, Steve Crowther, has written to Neil Hamilton to say:

"I am happy to report on behalf of the Party that all outstanding questions in relation to your expenses have been resolved entirely to the NEC's satisfaction."

Mr Hamilton remains Deputy Chairman of UKIP and is to undertake a major fund-raising exercise for UKIP.

Neil Hamilton's exoneration by UKIP's National Executive Committee follows an investigation into a leak on 10 December 2014 of part of a letter to Mr Hamilton from its Finance & Remuneration Committee.

At the time, Mr Hamilton furiously denounced the leak as "part of a dirty tricks campaign" against him and strongly denied any imputation of 'expenses fiddling' or other impropriety.

Neil Hamilton 16-08-2014Mr Crowther described the leak as "absolutely wrong and totally incompatible with the party's ethos."

In his statement on 10 December, Mr Hamilton said he had exposed "a cancer at the heart of UKIP" and today said that problem had now been dealt with.

He continued:

"This appalling act of chicanery has been very distressing indeed, particularly for my wife, Christine.  I am disappointed it has denied me the chance of fighting a seat next May but will do all I can to help secure the election of as many UKIP MPs as possible.  I also continue strongly to support Nigel Farage's leadership.

"UKIP must be vigilant, as it becomes more powerful, to prevent its members being tempted by the rancid politics of spin and manipulation which have corrupted the parties we seek to replace.

"I live to fight another day."

Background

The leaked e-mail of 10 December raised issues about Neil Hamilton's pay and expenses as UKIP's Deputy Chairman.

Contrary to ill-informed speculation, it was not prompted by suspicion of impropriety but by deficiencies in the party's record-keeping of employees' pay and expenses generally.

The selective leak out of context of part of this e-mail created a false impression of impropriety which publication of the entire correspondence would have prevented.

Hugh Williams, UKIP's Assistant Treasurer, wrote to Christine Hamilton (who compiled and submitted all Mr Hamilton's claims) on 17 November 2014, saying:

"...you have been asked for a lot of detail about the travelling expenses we have been paying of late because all expense claims (not just Neil's) are being gone through by the F&RC with a fine-tooth comb."

On 19 November, Hugh Williams wrote to Mr Hamilton, citing inadequate record-keeping as the reason for the enquiry:

"UKIP does not have a good track record of putting all of this sort of arrangement down in writing at the start of a contract and, as a result, things can easily go astray and misunderstandings creep in, as seems to have happened here."

Hugh Williams' e-mails, and Mr Hamilton's responses, were not leaked because the leaker wanted to damage Mr Hamilton by conveying a false impression of impropriety.

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