Nigel Farage: Ukip should reject all taxpayer funds because it must 'not look like other parties grubbing around after public money'

Ukip leader insists party should accept none of the £3.2 million of 'Short money' the party is entitled to after winning 4 million votes at the election

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Indy Politics

Nigel Farage has appeared to backtrack after insisting Ukip should reject all of the £3.2 million of taxpayer money it is entitled to after winning 4 million votes at the election.

The Ukip leader said he did not want the party to “look like other parties, grubbing around after public money”, despite comments earlier this week saying it should use the entitled sum.

His comments come after a damaging internal row over whether the party should accept the public funds. It was also engulfed in civil war after a bitter dispute between Mr Farage and his campaign manager Patrick O'Flynn, who described the Ukip leader yesterday as a "snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive man".

The party is entitled to an annual sum of £650,000 of “short money” - funds given to opposition parties to cover the cost of support staff, research and other costs incurred in carrying out its parliamentary business.

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Nigel Farage appeared on Question Time last night

Earlier this week Douglas Carswell, the party’s only MP, said Ukip should be “prepared to reject” the money but Mr Farage said he wanted the party to use it to represent its 4 million voters.

But speaking on BBC Question Time last night, Mr Farage said: “I’m going to recommend that we don’t accept any of it. Given we’ve had an argument over this, I don’t want Ukip to look like other parties, grubbing around after public money.”

It appears Mr Carswell won his leader over after the two met to discuss the matter on Wednesday.

He dismissed a proposal from Ukip officials to hire 15 staff as unnecessary.

"I am not a US senator, I don't need 15 staff,” the Clacton MP said. “We should be different, we should be prepared to reject taxpayer funding. We don’t need to be on the gravy train to fund staff. UKIP should be about saying no to the political trough. Not taking our fill.”

He had suggested the party instead accept just £350,000 of the funds.

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