Friday, January 14, 2011

Oldham East and Saddleworth By-Election: UKIP Disaster and Expenses Questioned

Despite spending thousands of pounds of your tax money on their campaign UKIP could only muster a mere 5.6% of the vote in Oldham East and Saddleworth. Why your taxes? Well ther candidate, Paul Nuttall MEP is on a salary, allowance and perks package worth well over £100,000 pa, paid for by the taxpayer. Makes UKIP's attacks on public sector pay in the UK seem slightly hypocritical we think, and they have over 10 MEPs, they keep losing them so it's hard to know exactly how many at a given time. Remember the UKIP MEP John Bufton, who was confronted by journalists about receiving an extra £250 a day just for turning up? His response was: "Well, that's the system". That's how UKIP fund their campaigns.

So UKIP ran an extremely expensive campaign, paid for by you, and what did they get? The result is below:

Labour: 14,718 (42.1%)
Lib Dems: 11,160 (31.9%)
Conservatives: 4,481 (12.8%)
UKIP: 2,029 (5.8%)
BNP: 1,560 (4.5%)
Green Party: 530 (1.5%)
Monster Raving Loony Party: 145 (0.4%)
English Democrats: 144 (0.4%)
Pirate Party: 96 (0.2%)
Bus Pass Elvis Party: 67 (0.1%)

To put the result in perspective compare last night's result with the UKIP vote in a simialar by-election in 1999. In Wigan, a not dissimilar place to Oldham, the UKIP candidate achieved a vote of 5.2%. So having numerous MEPs since 1999, a much higher profile and staff employed on MEPs allowances in the northwest since 2004 UKIP only got 0.4% of the vote more last night than they did twelve years ago. That's hardly progress.

Add to that that our man in Oldham this week being told by people from two other parties that they would be going through UKIP's election expenses with a fine tooth comb then there could be further trouble ahead for UKIP. There is a widely held view in Oldham that they could not have run the campaign they did within the statutory expenditure limits. We will see.

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