Leaflet financed by Europe - Farage


UKIP PUBLICATION:A CONTROVERSIAL leaflet advocating a No vote in the Lisbon treaty referendum is being funded by the European Parliament, the former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage said yesterday.

The eight-page leaflet, distributed to every home in the country, has been heavily criticised by Yes campaigners and yesterday it drew an unprecedented rebuke from the Labour Court. Its chairman, Kevin Duffy, said the leaflet seriously misrepresented one of the court’s decisions about contractors from other member states. The wording of the decision had been changed so as to alter its meaning and the decision was the opposite of the one claimed in the leaflet, he said.

But Mr Farage, speaking earlier in Dublin, insisted the leaflet was accurate and accused the Yes side of telling “a constant stream of lies” about the treaty. The treaty was being “rammed through in the most undemocratic way” with the previous referendum being “wilfully ignored”, he told the press conference organised by the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) grouping in the European Parliament. UKIP is the largest party in the grouping, which has no Irish members.

The leaflet claims 75 million Turks will get free movement within the EU if the treaty is passed and “tens of thousands” of Irish workers may see their wages lowered or their jobs displaced.

The €170,000 funding for the leaflet, Mr Farage revealed, is coming from the European Parliament’s information budget.

A spokeswoman for the parliament confirmed the group received funding last week, and was largely entitled to spend this as it saw fit. Mr Farage denied the leaflet was being published by UKIP alone. “There has been a deliberate attempt to say this is a UKIP campaign in Ireland. This is not true, and we wouldn’t do it because it would be illegal. We’re not putting a penny in.”

Some 18 of the 32 members of the group have signed up to the leaflet, according to Timo Soini, a Finnish MEP and chair of the EFD group, of which 13 are UKIP MEPs.

Mr Farage said the Lisbon Treaty was the EU constitution in all but name and it wasn’t true to say nothing would change. The aim was to create a global superpower in Europe and to pretend otherwise was ridiculous.

Members of Generation Yes and Labour Youth staged a protest outside the city centre hotel in which the press conference was held. The group carried posters such as “UK Interference Party” and claimed UKIP was a racist party.

Labour deputy leader Joan Burton said she was angry and offended at the use of a quote from her in the leaflet: “Ukip is made up of a . . . bunch of extreme right-wingers . . . notable only for their anti-Irish and anti-European views.”