England

Ex-MEP Nikki Sinclaire 'would not make false claims after fraud briefing'

Nikki Sinclaire Image copyright PA
Image caption Nikki Sinclaire told a court UKIP politicians had been briefed about a prosecution being brought against one of its MEPs

An ex-MEP has urged jurors to consider why she would have falsely claimed expenses shortly after being warned of similar allegations about a colleague.

Nikki Sinclaire, who represented the West Midlands until 2014, denies making "significant" expenses claims she knew to be false.

But, the ex-UKIP member told Birmingham Crown Court she was told just months before of a case against MEP Tom Wise.

It would have made no sense to "fiddle" expenses so soon after, in 2009.

More on Nikki Sinclaire fraud trial

Previously, Ms Sinclaire told the court her expenses were dealt with by her staff.

The first of 10 alleged improper expenses claims against her dates to October 2009, the same month as the UKIP briefing about the allegations against Wise.

Wise, a former MEP for the East of England, was jailed the following month after admitting falsely claiming travel expenses.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Nikki Sinclaire has accused a former aide of spying on her for UKIP bosses

Referring to Wise, Ms Sinclaire said: "Why would that be the time I would decide to start fiddling my expenses?"

Her lawyers said she would not have been signing off fake expenses for financial gain as the total she could have made was "about €3,000" (about £2,465).

Ms Sinclaire, 47, from Solihull, also accused former aide John Ison of spying on her for UKIP bosses and submitting at least one "deliberately corrupted" expenses claim on her behalf, in an attempt to undermine her.

The court heard about tensions between Ms Sinclaire and then UKIP leader Nigel Farage from Mr Ison, who admitted making secret recordings of her "for the good of the party".

He also reported her to the police in September 2010 without her knowing.

Ms Sinclaire said that on her solicitor's advice, she offered no comment at police interviews in 2012.

She denies the charges. The trial continues.

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