On Friday Guido highlighted the fact that Tory MEP, and candidate for delegation leader, Richard Ashworth had been milking the EU gravy train by seemingly employing his wife, on a full-time salary close to thirty grand, for what was described as non-existent job. Talking of milking, and as the ballots go out this morning, Guido couldn’t help but chuckle when he read that:
“Richard is currently a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and is Conservative Spokesman in this area.”It gets better, according to the Tory website: “Richard’s life has heavily revolved around cows. He was a dairy farmer in East Sussex for over thirty years and during this time operated his own dairy business”
All true, but if Guido’s farming career had been anything like Ashworth’s he wouldn’t be boasting about it. How such a spectacular agri-disaster can represent British interests in Europe, where the UK’s farming industry is strangled and controlled from, is mind boggling. Way back in the Eighties it seems Ashworth wasn’t quite the agricultural expert he claims to be now, nor was his behaviour that expected of a leader. In 2001 his Sussex farming career came to an abrupt end:
“Richard Ashworth, the tenant farmer at Fairlight Place Farm, departed after legal action was threatened over the pollution of the Fairlight Glen he was repeatedly causing by allowing slurry to run-off from his intensive dairy farming. His negative approach to farming was condemned by many people, but councillors and council officers were reluctant to take action against him because of his prominence in the local establishment.”
Fairlight Place was Ashworth’s 11 bedroom manor that he was forced out of after trashing the surrounding farmland. He settled with Hastings Council in the year he was elected as a Conservative MEP. The Council paid Ashworth off only to avoid his farm waste polluting areas of special scientific interest, saving rare plants have survived from 5,000 years ago. In the end the council had to spend taxpayers’ money cleaning up the now MEP’s mess. His “prominence” managed to keep that one quiet though.
Guido wonders what the EU Agriculture Committee would say about it all, let alone the farmers who Ashworth claims to stand up for in Europe.