Former Ukip Commonwealth spokesman ‘used to be the boss of a Pakistan kidnapping gang’

Mujeeb Bhutto reportedly joined the party – and became its Commonwealth spokesman – after serving his term in a UK jail

Adam Withnall
Tuesday 04 February 2014 11:01
Comments
The former Ukip spokesman Mujeeb Bhutto used to be the boss of a kidnapping gang in Pakistan, according to BBC's Newsnight
The former Ukip spokesman Mujeeb Bhutto used to be the boss of a kidnapping gang in Pakistan, according to BBC's Newsnight

A former Ukip spokesman who represented the party in TV and radio appearances used to be the “boss” of a kidnapping gang in Pakistan, it has been reported.

Mujeeb ur Rehman Bhutto, who was identified as the party’s Commonwealth spokesman between March and December 2013, first flew to Manchester to take payment of a £56,000 ransom for a high-profile 2004 kidnapping, according to an investigation by BBC’s Newsnight programme.

While other members of Bhutto’s gang were sentenced to the death penalty for their convictions in 2005, he admitted to being the “boss” at Manchester Crown Court and was sentenced to seven years at a UK jail.

In 2011 he became a member of Ukip, the BBC reported. He went on to appear as a spokesman for the party on the BBC debating show The Big Questions, and organised a trip to a mosque in Leeds for the party leader Nigel Farage.

Bhutto, who is still a wanted man in Pakistan, has claimed the charges against him were “simply because of political rivalry”. He told Newsnight he admitted to leading the kidnapping gang in 2005 to avoid the risk of deportation and being hanged.

A Ukip spokesperson told the BBC that Bhutto, 35, had recently resigned as a member of the party. “When we recently became aware of possible issues relating to his past and raised the matter with him, he resigned his membership,” the spokesperson said.

Bhutto, who said in a TV appearance last year that Ukip want “controlled immigration where we know who’s coming in, who’s going out”, is the latest in a string of party members to be involved in controversy in recent months.

Last month, the Ukip councillor David Silvester was suspended from the party in the wake of comments suggesting recent storms could be blamed on David Cameron’s decision to legalise gay marriage.

In November last year, one of the party’s MEPs Stuart Agnew sparked a furore after he said women don’t “have the ambition” to get to the top in business because babies “get in the way”.

And a month earlier, the MEP Godfrey Bloom was famously suspended from Ukip for calling a room full of women “sluts”, hitting out against sending aid to “bongo bongo land” and physically hitting a reporter over the head with a party brochure.

Mr Farage has previously responded to the rows by pledging to cleanse the party of anyone with “extremist, nasty or barmy views” – while insisting that there have been similar “outbreaks” of such views from people “of all political persuasions”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in