It’s only Tuesday and Steven Woolfe must already be wishing this week was over. After missing the nomination deadline on Sunday, Woolfe will learn today whether his leadership application will be accepted. If that weren’t enough, he is also in the firing line over his lapsed Ukip membership and the Huffington Post‘s revelation that Woolfe broke electoral rules in 2012 by failing to reveal a drink-drive conviction when he stood to be a Police and Crime Commissioner.
Still, should Woolfe’s leadership hopes live to survive another day, Mr S understands that he will have to dig deep in order to win round party bean counters. Ukip MEPs are encouraged to regularly donate a portion of their lofty EU salary — around £80,000 a year along with up to £320,000 in allowances — to the party, with over £400,000 raised this way between 2004 and 2013. Given that the party has experienced significant funding difficulties in recent years, in 2014 an ‘MEP charter‘ was even proposed to make donations mandatory but was later scrapped.
So, how much has Woolfe donated since becoming an MEP in 2014? Well, not all that much actually. According to the electoral commission — which records any donation over £500 — Woolfe has no party donations listed. This is in stark contrast to his leadership rival Diane James who has donated £9000 since becoming an MEP in 2014, at the same time as Woolfe. Meanwhile Ukip’s Paul Nuttall has donated £16,450.78 since 2009.
While a spokesman for Woolfe insists that he has donated ‘approximately £4000 to various UKIP branches and groups around the country since becoming an MEP in May 2014’, his donations — or lack of — have not gone unnoticed. ‘Woolfe just doesn’t put his money where his mouth is, it’s as simple as that,’ one disgruntled bean counter tells Steerpike.
With Woolfe’s efforts failing to impress some kippers, Mr S suspects that James’s generosity won’t go unnoticed if she does make it onto the ballot this afternoon.