Nigel Farage has been fined £200 by Britain’s elections watchdog for failing to declare the free use of a constituent office, which had been gifted to him by a party supporter.
According to the Electoral Commission, Ukip leader Mr Farage had been using the office since 2001 and its value, as surveyed independently, was £3,500 per year rising to £3,800 annually over this time.
Mr Farage’s converted grain store in Littlehampton, West Sussex, was donated to him by John Longhurst.
It had been declared to the European Parliamentary register in Brussels, as per his requirements as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), but not the British body.
“The Commission is satisfied that there had been no intent to hide the donations,” the watchdog said in a statement.
It said it had also taken into account his accurate reporting to the European Parliament when setting his fine. Mr Farage has since paid the charge.
Mr Farage had been required, under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, to report to the watchdog any non-cash donations above the value of £1,500.
A Ukip spokesperson said: “The Electoral Commission wholly accept that Nigel Farage sought professional advice and followed it in good faith and that the use of the office was not concealed.
“They therefore concluded that Mr Farage was 'honestly mistaken as to [his] obligations'. Nigel has paid the fine and the matter is now settled.”
In a separate case, the Commission said the Conservative Party has forfeited a £28,000 donation from an Oxfordshire-based firm called Henley Concierge Limited.
Following an investigation, the watchdog expressed concerns that the donor could not be deemed permissible. A company is considered permissible if it is registered with Companies House and does business in the UK.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Mr Farage has struck an alliance with controversial Polish right-winger Robert Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz in the European Parliament, while Mike Read has defended the self-released Ukip song saying: “You can't sing a calypso with a Surrey accent.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies