Cash for Questions Scandal MP Neil Hamilton is fighting for a seat in St Mary's Park

Neil Hamilton hopes to become a Wandsworth councillor after being rejected by UKIP to stand as an MEP last year

Neil Hamilton hopes to become a Wandsworth councillor after being rejected by UKIP to stand as an MEP last year

First published in News
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Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Reporter

The disgraced former MP Neil Hamilton is running for councillor in the May local elections.

The Ukip deputy chairman will stand in St Mary’s Park where he has lived for 35 years.

Mr Hamilton was a Conservative MP under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, before sleaze allegations saw him squeezed out of the party.

An article in national newspaper The Guardian in 1994 alleged he was accepting payments from former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed to ask questions in Parliament.

The 1997 ‘Downey report’ looked into Mr Hamilton’s dealings.

It found he received over £25,000 from Mr Al-fayed, and £6,000 from the tobacco company Skoal Bandits.

Wandsworth Guardian:

Looking to the future: Hamilton says his 'sleazy' image is a thing of the past

In an exclusive interview with the Wandsworth Guardian, Mr Hamilton was asked if he thinks his untrustworthy image will hold him back in the local elections.

He said: "I was demonised by the media 20 years ago, but me and my wife have moved on from that.

"It was a very long time ago.

"Since then we have had a very successful career on TV and so on. The public have made their minds up and they like the Hamiltons.

"They are often delighted to meet us, they take selfies and crack jokes with us. It’s great."

Mr Hamilton joined Ukip back in 2011 and became deputy chairman, as well as taking on a role as campaign director.

His application to stand as an MEP was rejected by the party in August 2013, and he was demoted from campaign director in April this year.

Mr Hamilton said: "There was no demotion, it was just a story in The Observer that I didn’t participate in.

"My position as campaign director was a strategic planning role, it was always going to end so I could become a councillor.

"As a campaign director I always felt I couldn’t encourage other people to put their names out there and push to become councillors, if I wasn’t prepared to do it myself. So that’s what I am doing.

"But I will almost certainly stand in the next general election, I will probably try and become an MP next year."

At the Ukip spring conference the party's leader Nigel Farage referred to Mr Hamilton as a 'back room boy.'

He said: "All he meant by that was that I am working in a strategy and election planning role behind the scenes. I am actually enjoying doing that."

Mr Hamilton roused curiosity about the legitimacy of Ukip's main donor Paul Sykes, when he remarked 'we haven't seen the colour of his money.'

He explained the comment to the Wandsworth Guardian: "I was being interviewed by a journalist for The Observer, and she asked me about the difficulties in planning election campaigns.

"She commented it can’t be that difficult because Paul Sykes is bankrolling everything.

"I commented that I had no idea how much he was going to donate, so wasn’t able to plan how to use any money he donates to us."

Wandsworth Guardian:

No Laughing Matter: Nigel Farage and Ukip rejected Hamilton's application to become an MEP

Ukip have whipped up an enormous amount of controversy since their inception in 1993.

Sexist, racist, and homophobic remarks from party members have all hit the headlines.

Ukip candidate William Henwood recent commented that if Lenny Henry 'wants a lot of blacks around go and live in a black country."

Mr Henwood, who is a candidate in Enfield, made the remark after Mr Henry said not enough black people work in creative industries.

Mr Hamilton said: "We have firm rules about how our UKIP candidates conduct themselves in public, and people who bring the party into disrepute are expelled.

"Ukip members are accountable to the public and themselves, they can’t say things that are totally inappropriate.

"Not very many have done this though.

"We are victims of social media archaeologists trying to track down any UKIP activities they can use against us.

"If we had operation digging up things about other parties we would find similar things.

"They target us because we are a threat to them.

"In the Conservative control office there is a whole department trying to find things out about Ukip.

"They are scared because we are torpedoing them, we are going to embarrass them in these elections in a month’s time.

"Not just them, but Labour and the Liberals too."

Wandsworth Guardian:

Insulted: Comedian Lenny Henry was the subject of a Ukip member's racist remarks

If Mr Hamilton is successful he will be the first Ukip councillor to win a seat in the borough.

The Wandsworth Guardian asked if he thinks he will win.

He said: "I never predict how I’m going to do in elections.

"We haven’t stood in Wandsworth before, so I have no idea what sort of outcome there will be.

"I have lived in St Mary’s Park for 35 years, and I have seen councillors come and go.

"I was a strong supporter of the Conservatives for many many years and they have done some good work here.

"But now it is time for Ukip to take the area forward."

Asked about why he returned to politics, Mr Hamilton said: "My principle reason for getting re-involved in politics is getting Britain out of the EU.

"The EU is not a stationary train, it is travelling towards greater unification.

"If we don’t get out we will be tied up in the EU and not have control over our own affairs."

The local elections take place across all of Wandsworth's 20 wards on Thursday May 22.




Comments (1)

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7:38pm Wed 30 Apr 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

Do the voters get two Hamiltons for the price of one?
Do the voters get two Hamiltons for the price of one? Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 3

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