18th Nov 2018

Fresh names in Tory MEP expenses row

A further three British Conservative MEPs are facing allegations of financial abuse, following the resignation of two fellow members from European Parliament positions last week.

John Purvis, Sir Robert Atkins and Sajjad Karim were named in the UK media over the weekend for using parliamentary expenses to pay family companies and relatives or take private trips.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The European Parliament - are expenses rules too lax? (Photo: European Parliament)

Mr Purvis, a Scottish MEP who came to Brussels in 1979, has been paying financial services firm Purvis & Co €150,000 a year out of his EU purse. The company is registered at his house and pays him a wage.

Mr Atkins, a former British cabinet minister, used €3,000 of public money for a 2006 trip to the US where he attended his son's wedding, as well as meeting some politicians.

Mr Karim, a former Liberal and the first Muslim MEP, paid his wife €32,000 a year as a staff member, even though she was working as a full-time primary school teacher in the northwest of the UK.

All three are proclaiming their innocence: Mr Purvis says the contract with Purvis & Co did not break parliament rules until they changed in 2003 and that he has sought "clarification" of the new regulations ever since.

Mr Atkins called his son's wedding a "happy coincidence," as he was on official parliamentary business meeting Republican party members at the same time. Mr Karim says his wife worked for him at least three days a week.

"I consider myself completely a victim in this whole thing," Mr Purvis told The Courier, a Scottish newspaper. "I feel very let down. As far as I am aware I have done nothing wrong."

The allegations follow the resignation last week of Conservative MEPs Giles Chichester and Den Dover for channelling money to family businesses.

The pair stepped down as head of the British Conservative delegation and the Conservative delegation's chief whip - responsible for ensuring voting along party lines - respectively.

Both remain MEPs, but their party may block them from running for re-election in 2009, UK daily the Independent reports.

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Authorities in Budapest confirmed the former prime minister of Macedonia, fleeing a jail sentence in his own country, has filed for asylum. Despite Hungary's strict asylum laws, the pro-Kremlin politician was not turned away.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure

EU ministers' discussion on how to address rule of law issues in Poland and Hungary gets stuck on procedural issues, while Viktor Orban's government claims it is a target of the Brussels elite because of its anti-migration stance.

EU's centre-right make Weber their man to replace Juncker

The centre-right EPP party's congress wanted to show unity - but divisions remain after the political alliance lined up behind Germany's Manfred Weber as their 'Spitzenkandidat' ahead of next year's European election.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May


On Armistice Day, EU is still best gift we can give our children

While young people fought each other in 1918, young people in 2018 travel to study together under the Erasmus programme. But there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through just speeches, museum exhibits and visits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us