Ukip admits vetting requires more than just taking someone’s word
Spokespeople for Ukip have admitted that the party did not do enough to vet Amjad Bashir, who allegedly failed to inform officials about his former business partner’s criminal past.
Mujeeb Bhutto, a former Ukip spokesman and a friend of Mr Bashir, was jailed in 2005 for seven years over a kidnapping in Karachi. He later added to his criminal record by taking a random payment of £56,000 in Manchester. Mr Bhutto joined Ukip in 2011 and Mr Bashir did not inform the party of his legal history before he was elected MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber in 2014.
One senior source quoted by huffingtonpost.co.uk said by 2013 everyone knew about Mr Bashir’s past, before he went onto the candidates list. Despite this, head office ignored it and continued to let him be a party member. Another insider hinted that the reason why the vetting process wasn’t as good as it should have been was because party leader Nigel Farage wanted an ethnic minority MEP.
The Conservative Party has not properly vetted Mr Bashir either, it seems, as the MEP has just defected to the Tories after attending a secret meeting with David Cameron, reports telegraph.co.uk.
Another spokesman for Ukip noted that the party has since improved the way it screens its members.