So you’re a UKIP MEP and you want to turn what is essentially a non-story into a bit of anti-EU spin. Who do you call?
Well, The Daily Express, obviously.
This is exactly what the party’s defence spokesman Mike Hookem (pictured) did last week. His reward was an article in the UKIP-supporting tabloid where he was given a platform to make ludicrously inflated accusations that the EU were trying to censor him and shut down debate.
Mr Hookem, MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, had submitted a question to the European Commission about the safety of British lorry drivers in Calais. However, he made some rather exaggerated claims in his written question such as suggesting that all migrants trying to make their way into the UK are using violent measures.
He was asked to redraft his question ahead of submission as it contained ‘language that could be considered as offensive.’ He was also told that parts of his question were ‘not easy to understand‘.
Instead of getting on with the job and tweaking the question, Mr Hookem contacted the Express to concoct a story about Eurocrats denying him his democratic rights.
UKIP QUESTION ON SAFETY OF UK LORRY DRIVERS DISMISSED BY EU AS ‘OFFENSIVE TO MIGRANTS’, went the headline.
The article went on to make false claims that the question had been dismissed by ‘Brussels bureaucrats‘ before quoting Mr Hookem who accused the ‘PC brigade‘ of ‘trying to shut down debate‘.
‘It’s not for unelected eurocrats to decide what is and isn’t allowed to be debated when it comes to the truth‘, he complained. ‘Censorship is truly offensive.’
It is not sure whether Mr Hookem subsequently redrafted his question and submitted it or whether he is still whingeing about being hard-done-by to any fool who cares to listen.
Original article in The Daily Express available here.