A loss of Respect for Amjad Bashir?


The defection of MEP Amjad Bashir from UKIP to the Conservative Party took an amazing new twist this afternoon when George Galloway’s Respect Party claimed on their website that Bashir was selected as the Respect candidate in Bradford Moor for the May 2012 council elections but was deselected “after local residents raised serious concerns about his fitness to stand.”

Conservative MEP Amjad Bashir
Conservative MEP Amjad Bashir

He subsequently left Respect, joined UKIP and was placed second on the UKIP list of candidates for the Yorkshire and the Humber region. UKIP topped the poll with 31% of the vote and Bashir was elected as one of six MEPs for the region. Prior to his dalliance with Respect and UKIP former restauranteur Bashir had been a member of the Conservative Party for 15 years.

 Amjad Bashir and David Cameron in Witney Photo: Will Wintercross/The Telegraph
Amjad Bashir and David Cameron in Witney Photo: Will Wintercross/The Telegraph

The claim by Respect, if true, will heap further embarrassment on the Conservative Party, UKIP, Nigel Farage and not least Prime Minister David Cameron who told the Sunday Telegraph that he was “absolutely delighted that Amjad has decided to leave UKIP and join the Conservative Party.”

Bashir told the newspaper that UKIP had become a “party of ruthless self-interest”, was “pretty amateur” and had a “ridiculous” lack of policies.

Nigel Farage, Andrew Marr Show 25/1/15
Nigel Farage, Andrew Marr Show 25/1/15

Nigel Farage and UKIP hit back by claiming the defection was prompted by an ongoing investigation into interference with the candidate selection process and “extremely serious” financial issues, evidence of which it says has been passed to the police. Bashir, who denies the allegations was suspended by UKIP shortly before he announced his defection to the Tories on Saturday.

The Spectator yesterday speculated that “Bashir was being investigated over several allegations of concern to Ukip HQ. The first was apparent financial inconsistencies in his expenses relating to the EFD group in the European Parliament. Secondly, some at Ukip HQ believe they were misled over a story in The Times about his restaurant employing seven illegal immigrants. Bashir resigned as a director of the company (which owns the restaurant) three days before the story in the Times was printed — but he told party HQ that he has resigned a month prior.

Finally, at a selection meeting for the Keighley constituency in Bradford last week, Bashir’s associate Mujeeb Bhutto turned up with twelve other individuals – who were not Ukip members and were signed up on the door. The local party was unhappy about this situation — as recorded in the leaked minutes of the Bradford meeting. Ukippers were also concerned that Bashir met with representatives from Pakistan’s MQM party (video here)”.

George Galloway
George Galloway

George Galloway in typical barnstorming form said that:

Clearly Bashir does not have any real political principles or commitment only naked opportunism and self-interest. He represents the revolving door principle in politics. The Tories are welcome to him because he will cause them embarrassment. Fortunately Respect was able to act before he did it to us. Clearly both UKIP and the Tories have lower standards

Why Mr. Bashir was even considered as a potential Respect candidate in the first place given his previous political affiliations is of course open to question.

Tonight speaking via the Conservative Party Press Office Mr Bashir denied ever having any association with the Respect Party who hit back by accusing the MEP of “lying.”

On their website Respect claim “an application form he filled in and is still held by the party proves that isn’t the case… he also claims on the form that in the 1970s and 1980s he was a Labour party member and helped the then Bradford West MP Marsha Singh (now deceased)”.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Red faces all round.

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  • Catcher in the Rye

    Thank you for collecting all the facts in one place.

    Very embarrassing for the Tories (and the Prime Minister in particular given that this man name-dropped him as being instrumental in his rejoining the party), although it’s also embarrassing that UKIP had grounds to suspect the guy’s honesty since May and did nothing about it. It also sounds like UKIP’s selection procedures need some work if a guy can just sign up his mates on the night and have them vote him in. Usually selection meetings require members to have some standing.

    On expenses though .. I am sure I remember Farage, or someone, in the past saying that they milked EU expenses for all that they could quite deliberately. ?

  • Dan

    It’ll be fun watching the obnoxious Grant Shapps squirming when questioned……but nothing as compared to the utter hilarity of the car crash demolition and humiliation by Andrew Neill of that Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett.

  • Chingford Man

    UKIP has a rule that you have to have been a member for 6 months before you can vote in the selection of any candidate for public office.

    The EU doesn’t do expenses but gives a fixed allowance to members.

  • Chingford Man

    I’ve come round to thinking that UKIP messed up by allowing Bashir to go forward for the party at the Euros. Perhaps the thought of getting an Asian businessman of Pakistani extraction seemed too good an opportunity to miss. But, for all that, UKIP will escape criticism because Bashir is now likely to become a problem for the Tories as more details about him come out.

  • Thomas Evans

    He resigned 3 days AFTER the raid. Not before.

  • kalista63

    Reminds me of Castro sending his nut jobs to Florida and how America fell for that.

  • There could be a solution to the General Election debates in all of this. Given that Mr Bashir has been in all the mainstream and half the not so mainstream parties, he could speak for the Conservatives, Labour and UKIP, and then there will be plenty of space for the regions.

  • Steve

    It’s astonishing that he was in Respect given his old UKIP website says:

    He wants to remove….Employment policies which make it impossible to employ.

    1) Maternity leave.
    2) Paternity leave.
    3) Holiday entitlement.
    4) Working time directive.
    5) Minimum Wage
    6) Flexible working directive.
    7) Unfair dismissal (tribunals).