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UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir suspended over 'serious' financial issues

Amjad Bashir explains why he planned to defect from UKIP

A UKIP MEP who was poised to defect to the Conservatives has been suspended over financial and employment concerns.


Party leader Nigel Farage said there were "extremely serious" questions which Amjad Bashir had not answered.


The allegations against him include claims of interference with the candidate selection process, according to the party.


Mr Bashir rejected the claims as "absurd and made-up allegations".


The MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, who was also UKIP's communities spokesman, had been expected to announce his defection to the Conservative Party on Saturday evening.


He said he had already met David Cameron to discuss the move, and prime minister had told him he was "absolutely delighted" that he had rejoined the Tories.


Mr Bashir had previously been a Conservative Party member, and became involved with UKIP three years ago.


BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said: "Amjad Bashir was about to deal Nigel Farage a body blow - he told my BBC colleague Jim Reed he was defecting from UKIP to the Conservatives."


In an interview with the BBC carried out before the news of his suspension, he said controlled immigration and an EU referendum were "not achievable with UKIP".


Mr Bashir appeared alongside UKIP leader Nigel Farage at the launch of the party's 2014 local and European elections campaign

Mr Bashir told the BBC's Jim Reed: "I think it is right that I make good the promises I made to my electorate and join a party that is able to deliver those promises.


"The only party that is able to and is offering the referendum is the Conservative Party and they have the ability to deliver that."


Mr Bashir, a former restaurateur who has also acted as UKIP's small businesses spokesman, revealed that he would not be standing down in order to prompt a by-election.


Defending that decision, he said: "They voted for the policies that UKIP have, and those policies I can best deliver from the Conservative Party."


He described UKIP's campaigning against the Conservatives as "self-centred" since it would, he claimed, "cause a significant dent in the Conservative vote... and let in Labour, and Labour doesn't propose a referendum nor the immigration controls that we want".


'Zero tolerance'

He has in the past defended the party against accusations of racism and insisted race and religion had nothing to do with his decision to leave UKIP.


Regarding Mr Bashir's suspension, a UKIP spokesman said: "The UK Independence Party has a zero-tolerance policy and takes the matters at hand extremely seriously.


"The allegations against Mr Bashir are of a grave nature and we will be forwarding our evidence obtained so far to the police."


In a statement on its website, UKIP disclosed one of the reasons Mr Bashir has been suspended was his "continued affiliation" with Mujeeb Bhutto, who was involved in a Pakistani kidnapping gang.

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:lol:   Banging on?!  I notice the liberal luvvies have changed their tactics, from taunts of racism and other "isms"; which worked against the BNP, but has failed against UKIP.  Now the strategy appears to be, to administer death by a thousand cuts, by bombarding us with every UKIP gaff the press can supply. The problem is, and they don't really get it;  that for those who want out of the EU, out of the ECHR, and for some control on immigration - there is no alternative.  The three main Parties are commited to the two former, and have proved totally incapable (assuming they had any ideological intent) of dealing with the latter. The idea that the Tories or others, will somehow improve our relationship with the EU, to our benefit; when they are clearly outvoted by a majority interest; makes the idea of re-negotiation a non-starter. 

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