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Tuesday, 5 September, 2000, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Tory MEP faces Euro-inquiry

Copenhagen's Little Mermaid statue: Danes vote on the euro on 28 September
The European Parliament has launched an investigation into the possible misuse of its facilities by a Conservative MEP campaigning for a No vote in the Danish euro referendum at the end of this month.

Daniel Hannan, a right-wing Eurosceptic, has been fundraising for the 'No' campaign.

Following Labour complaints, Nicole Fontaine, president of the European Parliament, approved an inquiry into whether Mr Hannan abused its facilities and finances in helping the Danish People's Party (DPP).

The MEP for South-East England raised 125,000 for the DPP's campaign. Comparisons have been drawn between the nationalist DPP and Austria's far-right Freedom Party.

Conservative leader William Hague last week faced calls to dissociate himself from Mr Hannan's support for a party which backs the repatriation of refugees.

But on Sunday Mr Hannan went ahead and addressed a DPP rally in Denmark, at which he told audience members they were not alone in hating the European Union.

The Danish Conservative Party, which backs a Yes vote in the referendum, said it knew of the MEP's "irritating" involvement too late to influence the British Tory Party to stop him.

Simon Murphy, leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, had formally requested an inquiry into Mr Hannan's fundraising activities.

Mr Murphy said two key issues must be examined: "Has there been improper use of European Parliamentary facilities and European taxpayers' money by Daniel Hannan in the course of his anti-euro fundraising activities?

"Can the president ensure that Daniel Hannan is required to register all donations or support he receives in the course of his fundraising activities - travel expenses, entertainment, etc - in the European Parliament's register of members' interests before the Danish referendum?"

Mr Murphy said: "It is of the utmost importance that information on fundraising by members of the European Parliament relating to referenda be put in the public domain at the earliest possible opportunity, so that the public can make an informed decision, fully aware of how the campaign has been funded."

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