Nigel Farage’s office tells constituent his degrees are ‘pointless’ after he raises questions about Brexit

Exclusive: Peter Cook says he feels 'very insulted' after the exchange 

Wednesday 29 August 2018 07:15 BST
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One of Nigel Farage's constituents was "very insulted" when he was told his degrees were "pointless" after he contacted him to ask questions about Brexit.

In an email exchange seen by The Independent, Peter Cook wrote to his MEP asking for some clarification about Brexit and the net benefits of leaving the European Union.

The Kent based businessman said his Academy of Rock public speaking and events company had taken a hit since the June 2016 vote to leave.

Explaining that he had three degrees and was capable of understanding technical concepts like net present value (NPV) if the response included it.

NPV is the difference between the present value of cash inflows and the present value of cash outflows over a period of time.

"Answers such as getting our country back are not acceptable," said the 60-year-old from Gillingham. "I need specific information economically, socially, politically, environmentally and so on."

He received a response from someone called Ben, who works in Mr Farage's office.

Peter Cook said he was expecting a reasonable answer from his MEP.

Claiming that “democracy is the real Brexit prize”, he replied with “suggested general reading” which included philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and economist Ludwig Von Mises.

"Change of course always involves some disruption, and there is a short term cost to that, but the long term gains from the above are priceless," he wrote. "The mistake was joining the EU project in the first place - that is where responsibility for the costs involved in leaving should fall."

Unimpressed, Mr Cook replied: "You have not answered my question - please try again.”

Mr Farage's office responded with: "I think you'll find I have, you're just too closed minded to see it."

Mr Cook replied: "Priceless is not an answer to the question of NPV. It is a pointless platitude," only to receive the response: "Like your degrees perhaps."

Mr Cook said: "Please secure a response to my question. I want to hear from my MEP not some middle man."

Mr Farage’s office responded with: "I can't help that you don't like the answer, or democracy."

Mr Cook said he was “very insulted” by the responses and said that Mr Farage was failing to do his job as an MEP.

“Although he replied quickly but I thought it was disgraceful that he is paid £80,000 a year and is not doing his job,” he told The Independent.

“I have thick skin but I was very insulted. He didn’t take into account the fact I had explained that I had business degrees and could cope with an intelligent response."

He added that he might have expected a reasonable economic forecast so he could plan for his business.

Asked about the response from his office, Mr Farage told The Independent that the advice about the philosophers was valid, he said: "Most MEPs would have just put the email into the bin."

A spokesman for the EFDD Group in the European Parliament of which Mr Farage is a member, told The Independent: “With 6 million constituents Mr Farage does not get to see every letter and email.

"Yet his secretary promptly responded to the chief of the Academy of Rock [Peter Cook] with all due seriousness.”

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