Posts Tagged 'MEP'

Is UKIP’s William Dartmouth MEP using an offshore company to conceal involvement in a wind turbine development?

Following on from yesterday’s post, the curious story surrounding UKIP MEP William Dartmouth and allegations that his land is the site of a proposed wind farm development – in direct contradiction with UKIP policy – has become even more interesting.  This is a detailed post.

We have managed to obtain a letter that was sent by Lord Dartmouth’s solicitor to UKIP chairman, Steve Crowther (below).

It states that William Dartmouth does not have any interest in the land where the wind turbines will be sited, rather the land’s ‘proprietor’ is Rosscroft Limited.  However Mr Tim Haggie, solicitor at Latimer Hinks, does say that Dartmouth owns land adjacent to the site and that is perhaps why a ‘third party notice’ was served on him.   It is interesting to note the address of the local office that Rosscroft Limited uses in the area…

By coincidence it just so happens that another local firm is based at that address…

Backing up Mr Haggie’s assertion about Rosscroft is a document that shows Dartmouth transferred land on Slaithwaite Moor to Rosscroft Limited on 10th February 2011.

However, Lord Dartmouth must be a very generous fellow because he transferred the land for zero consideration.  In other words he gave it away to Rosscroft for nothing.  And we are not talking about a plot the size of a domestic garden here, the land in question is shown edged in red and the Cupwith Reservoir is surrounded by a blue box…

But the situation becomes more confused thanks to a letter from Carter Jonas, Lord Dartmouth’s land agent, in April 2013 to campaigners who were seeking to prevent plans to drain Cupwith Reservoir.   As you can see in the circled section, Carter Jonas have been instructed to explain to the recipient of the letter that his comments and remarks in a previous letter regarding the ownership of Slaithwaite Moor by Dartmouth are ‘misconceived’.

Yet in the same letter, two years after Dartmouth transferred ownership of Slaithwaite to Rosscroft Limited, Carter Jonas make this astonishing comment…

If William Dartmouth had transferred ownership of Slaithwaite Moor two years earlier, and had no direct or indirect interest in the land, why on earth are his land agents saying that Dartmouth is sensitive to the concerns of people who did not want the reservoir drained and has given considerable thought as to ‘how he could best accommodate what you are seeking to achieve’?  How can a man with no interest or ownership over the land in question accommodate anything to do with its use or ownership?

We have seen above on the TP1 form that William Dartmouth transferred ownership of Slaithwaite Moor including Cupwith Reservoir in February 2011.  The documentary evidence is clear.

As such we have to pose the following question… if Rosscroft Limited became the owner of the land in February 2011, why is it that in August 2011, a memorandum written by consultancy Mott MacDonald asserts the following?

If this is incorrect why was it not corrected either by William Dartmouth or Rosscroft Limited?

Indeed, this takes us back to yesterday’s post and that wind farm planning application.  The applicants, Valley Wind Co-operative were duty bound to inform owners of the land on which they wished to develop a wind farm that they were putting in an application.  Owners and tenants have to be listed on a form in the application known as an Article 12 Certificate.  There are four types, A, B, C and D, neatly explained here.

A Certificate B is completed and submitted when the planning applicant (in this case Valley Wind) know the names of all the owners of the land upon which a planning application is being made.  On the wind farm planning application, there is a Certificate B which clearly names Rosscroft Limited and William Dartmouth, both care of Carter Jonas in York, as an owners (or tenants) of the land concerned.

dartmouth_owner

Despite Carter Jonas evidently being made aware that Valley Wind understand William Dartmouth to be an owner of this land, the planning application has not been corrected or amended.  Given that such incorrect information is valid reason for a planning application to be rejected, it seems very curious that no correction has been made to what William Dartmouth has said is an error and what his solicitor has said is a third party notice.

We have not yet been able to check with the Huddersfield Daily Examiner if William Dartmouth had requested a correction to their December 2012 story that identifies him as the owner of Cupwith Reservoir, nearly two years after the transfer to Rosscroft Limited.  But the stories still make the assertion.

So the question is, why have Carter Jonas and William Dartmouth apparently made no efforts to correct the record which has seen the media and even their paid consultants identify Dartmouth as the land owner at Cupwith Reservoir?  It’s an odd one.

We invited UKIP to comment on our story but have not yet received a response.

We also contacted William Dartmouth and invited him to comment on the ownerships and relationships concerning the land in question. He did not want to answer any questions from an anonymous blogger hiding behind a pseudonym and was more concerned in getting a name, however in the end he did email us the following:

But – to be crystal clear  – I do not own the land .

So, we know Rosscroft Limited owns the land.  But who owns Rosscroft?  It seems the directors of the company have been all or mainly ‘paid for’ names on paper only who have directorships in a large number of companies in different fields.  But there was a sudden and dramatic change of ownership last year that fitted into an interesting timeline of events.

In February 2013, pre-application advice was sought from Kirkless Council to discuss its views on the proposed wind farm development and whether it would have a possibility of being approved.

Shortly after that process, without explanation, the long standing directors of Rosscroft Limited were suddenly replaced by a professional director based in Monaco called Ian Frederick Ledger and a company based in the Bahamas called Ambassador Directors Limited.  This change means that Rosscroft’s human owners on the other side of the Atlantic cannot be easily identified.

With Rosscroft now enjoying the benefits of offshore privacy, the formal planning application for the wind farm was submitted by Valley Wind.

It’s a happy set of coincidences that just by chance seems to have seen Rosscroft adopt a very deep interest in privacy for its beneficial owners – just before it was to become involved in plans for wind turbines on land that we are told was formerly owned by a UKIP MEP, whose party opposes them.

Rosscroft was remarkably fortunate to have been gifted land that within a couple of years would be considered ripe for lavishly rewarding wind turbines; while William Dartmouth seems to have been remarkably fortunate to no longer own land on which an application for wind turbines – against UKIP party policy – was soon to be submitted.  And of course there is also the incredible coincidence that both Rosscroft and Dartmouth share the same solicitors and agents!  It’s a small world.

Curious people will no doubt be asking questions about all this.  Here are some that need to be answered:

  • Given these series of events, do William Dartmouth or the Dartmouth family have any financial interest or share ownership in Rosscroft Limited?
  • Has William Dartmouth ever created a bare or discretionary trust where the trust property includes all or part of Rosscroft Limited, or any of the land transferred to Rosscroft Limited?
  • Why have neither Carter Jonas nor William Dartmouth immediately corrected what must be an inaccurate planning application, especially when his solicitor said as long ago as January that the Dartmouth has no interest in the land he is listed on Certificate B as owning?
  • Why did neither Carter Jonas nor William Dartmouth immediately correct the Mott MacDonald memo and report stating the Earl of Dartmouth is the owner of the land well after the transfer date?
  • Why have local media stories citing William Dartmouth as the owner of land he transferred to Rosscroft not been corrected?
  • If William Dartmouth, despite not being the owner of Cupwith Reservior and having no direct or indirect interest in it, was influential enough to bring about an offer by its owner to give away the reservoir to campaigners who did not want it drained, does he not have the same influence to prevent the wind turbines being constructed on the same land?
  • As a UKIP MEP and stated adjacent land owner, with apparent influence and concern in the local neighbourhood, will William Dartmouth be submitting a formal objection to the wind farm planning application?
  • Will William Dartmouth or his solicitor make available the ‘third party notice’ he is said to have received in respect of being an adjacent land owner to the application site?
  • Does William Dartmouth or his family have any direct or indirect interest or share ownership in Ambassador Directors Ltd?
  • Is UKIP’s William Dartmouth MEP using an offshore company to conceal involvement in a wind turbine development?

UKIP if you want to, the lady is for turning

It speaks volumes of the UK Independence Party’s internal political warfare – when its people should be focussing all their attention on fighting for this country to leave the EU – that another one of its highest profile MEPs and senior party members, Marta Andreasen, has defected to the EUphile Conservatives.  It’s another own goal for Nigel Farage, coming just before the Eastleigh by-election.

Quite how Marta Andreasen thinks she will further the cause of this nation’s independence from the EU from within a political party whose senior members are overwhelmingly wedded to continued EU membership, is a mystery.  But then, one wonders if this was ever really her goal and in any case this is a result of what happens when UKIP’s leader puts more stock in pulling attention seeking  stunts like recruiting and installing a high profile former EU Commission whistleblower to the party’s candidates list , over and above long standing members who genuinely believe in getting the UK out of the EU, rather than leaving the grassroots to shape the party and its direction.  To lose one MEP and senior party member is careless, but to lose two…

The Daily Wail, in its story on this, explains:

Marta Andreasen, who was elected as a UKIP MEP in 2009, said she is going to join the Conservatives because they now offer the only realistic option for those wanting to bring about real change in Europe.

If they were being strictly accurate that would read: ‘Marta Andreasen, who was elected as a UKIP MEP in 2009 and faced imminent deselection from UKIP’s candidate’s list, said she is going to join the Conservatives because they now offer the only realistic option for her to maintain her financially lucrative position as a MEP in the European Parliament and tap into yet more hundreds of thousands of taxpayer pounds and euros.’

The Andreason affair is a problem for which Farage is solely responsible. Yet again his judgement and lack of strategic nous has been exposed in humiliating fashion. It was Farage who parachuted Andreason onto a candidates list that gave her the best possible chance of joining the EU gravy train – by breaking UKIP’s own rules on candidate selection – in the hope her profile developed from her battle with Neil Kinnock’s commission would rub off on UKIP (lots of parallels with the autocratic Cameron you will notice).

Although Andreason managed to secure a Brussels seat and spend her time supping from the never diminishing trough, it is Farage’s autocratic control of UKIP and his allegedly misogynist tendencies that she has found to be not to her taste.  She has spoken out about them in a way that has caused maximum embarrassment for UKIP.

Now combine that issue with her worries that the Brussels trough she so savours may soon be denied to her, as she suspected that Farage was planning to repeat his mistakes of taking high profile individuals and combining them with his fetish for the cult of (often minor) celebrity to ‘install’ Neil Hamilton, and possibly his wife Christine, to a winnable candidate’s list so they end up sucking the public teat in the European Parliament.  The resulting blow back made it clear Farage’s masterstroke was soon going to become yet another UKIP-harming piece of shortsighted stupidity.

That brings us to today and the sight of yet another unprincipled UKIP rent seeker jumping ship and boarding another vessel, ironically heading in the opposite direction to EU withdrawal, in the hope of securing the patronage of the control freak Cameron and his penchant for top down dictatorial rule.

As usual the losers in all this are the poor bloody grassroots eurosceptics, who again see internal party intrigues, rent seeking, arrogance and the fallout of autocratic foolishness escalate into cause-harming events such as these.  It is the worst possible advert for the campaign to enable the UK to escape from the EU.  Well done Farage. Well done.  Richard’s thinking on the matter appears to be rather similar to mine, as he explains:

Standing back from that, one can only regret that the eurosceptic cause is served so badly by all these shenanigans. We have enough difficulties and hurdles without our own side adding to them.

Exactly right.

Roger Helmer’s resignation

Regular readers will be aware that in recent weeks this blog has been extremely critical of Roger Helmer MEP and a number of Conservative MPs for their inconsistencies and positions on the subject of UK membership of the EU.

The news this morning that a weary looking Roger Helmer is resigning his position as one of the MEPs for the East Midlands comes as a complete surprise.

While the disagreements and political arguments between Roger Helmer and me have been quite pointed and uncompromising, including my call for him to resign from The Freedom Association, I have a great deal of respect for the decision he has taken this week.  It is likely the thoughts and feelings he must have been experiencing in the run up to his decision are not dissimilar to those I experienced before I resigned as a Conservative Councillor in mid-term and then left the party.

Such a decision will not have been taken lightly – and from his resignation statement Helmer has exhibited principle in confirming that his disillusion with the attitudes of the Conservative Party on a range of issues, but particularly the EU, is at the heart of his decision.

Although I believe Helmer’s trust in some of his Conservative colleagues (such as Chris Heaton-Harris MP) has been and remains misplaced, and I have criticised him in candid fashion for it, I feel Helmer has taken an honourable course of action and I respect him for it.

The decision taken by Roger Helmer should sound as a wake up call to the many Conservative members who continue to kid themselves that the party might, at some point, become Eurosceptic.  It won’t.  And after years of believing the party’s direction could be changed, Helmer has finally accepted this and stepped down.

The fact is the Conservative Party is firmly in hock to the EU.  The powerbrokers who quietly run the party from behind the scenes will ensure it remains so and no amount of campaigning from within the party will effect any change in its pro-EU position.  If a person does not believe the EU should govern this country then they have no place in the Conservative Party.

I wish Roger Helmer the best for the future.


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