Journalist turned businessman turned author. Now a regular columnist, broadcaster and political campaigner. Special interest in British constitutional history.
In 1972 he started his own international marketing business, helping major industrial companies to increase their export business. At one time the company had offices in Houston and Atlanta, USA, Geneva and London. The Tory government’s foolhardy attempt to shadow the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in the late 1980s and early 1990s ultimately forced interest rates to 15% and destroyed Ashley Mote’s business, along with over 100,000 others.
Having had such bitter first-hand experience of the damage the ERM could do, he started researching the European Union. This led to his book Vigilance – A Defence of British Liberty. Vigilance is one of the fastest-selling books about the EU ever published. His second political book, OverCrowded Britain is about the UK’s immigration crisis, and was published in 2003.
Recently Ashley Mote has written two pamphlets, thousands of which have been circulated all over the world. J’Accuse…! was published in 2007, and We Want Our Country Back at the end of 2008.
In 2000, Ashley Mote drafted a Petition to Her Majesty under Article 61 of Magna Carta, which was later signed by 28 peers and taken to Buckingham Palace by the Duke of Rutland and others. The petition asked Her Majesty not to grant the Royal Assent to the Bill to ratify the EU’s Treaty of Nice – an appeal which reports suggest came close to success.
He joined the UK Independence Party just before the 2001 general election as the only political home for people wanting Britain to leave the EU altogether. At the 2004 European parliamentary elections he won the second seat for UKIP in the south-east of England. He left the party after he was threatened with a prosecution, the consequences of which are still on-going five years later, with an appeal pending.
From 2004 to 2009 he sat as an independent member of the European Parliament, free to fight for the early withdrawal of the UK from the European Union and the restoration of government of the British by the British for the British.
Once in Brussels, Ashley Mote described his experiences thus: “When you are on the field of battle, you use every weapon at your disposal. Turning my back on the EU like many of my former colleagues in UKIP would not defeat it. I found myself a fifth-columnist within the city walls. But unlike most fifth-columnists, my foes knew I was there – a quite extraordinary situation, like much else in the EU.
“Being a member at least gave me access to information, and to people. I now had the ability to take the concerns of ordinary people into boardrooms and ministerial offices as never before, and have them taken seriously.
“I also had access to funds which could be used to help fight for the restoration of British sovereignty. The EU does not create wealth. It takes it from taxpayers all over the member states. It is a financial leech on the body politic. Bringing it back to the UK to finance our fight was the best possible use of British taxpayers’ money.
“It also helped finance a research team in Brussels and the UK who were able to dig into the detail of EU regulations, directives and future plans. We had access to information and officials, and the power to call the Commission to account.
“I was one of the few people ever to seek elected political office with the sole intention of putting myself out of a job. I was a turkey voting for Christmas. Sadly, the battle has not yet been won, and others have now taken my place. But win we will.”
Married with two adult children, Ashley Mote is the author of several other books, including The Glory Days of Cricket, which won the Cricket Society Literary Award in 1997.
He is a member of the Hambledon Club and a Freeman of the City of London. His other interests include music, the theatre, good company and rugby.
Personal Statement from Ashley Mote, MEP, November 2007
I deeply regret the decision of the Court of Appeal to reject my appeal against conviction for benefit fraud. The Court’s decision means that a jury faced with identical evidence on all counts can find the accused guilty of some alleged offences but not others. This appears to contradict much legal precedent. The jury in my case was plainly confused.
My lawyers intend to re-examine the case with a view to mounting a further appeal.
Meanwhile, I confirm that never – ever – would I seek to defraud the public purse. Nor did I intend to do so. If I have to apologise for anything it is my failure to support my own family after we lost everything in the ERM fiasco of the early 1990s.
For that I am truly sorry. My family was and is my responsibility. I come from a generation where self-reliance and personal responsibility are the norm. Going to the benefits office at all was an agonising acknowledgement of at least temporary defeat.
I had a proven track record of generating new wealth, new employment and bringing millions in foreign earnings into this country. Instead of support while I tried to create those circumstances again I encountered a bureaucratic culture of dependency which ultimately turned to envy and suspicion.
My only purpose – ever – was to get myself off benefit, not to sponge off the state. Chichester District Council and the Department of Work and Pensions had a duty of care to my family at that time. Instead, because they had government targets to meet, they set out to prove I was just another idler on the fiddle.
They could not have been more wrong. Later of course the government saw the opportunity to turn my case into a political hatchet job.
British taxpayers have to ask themselves why their government decided to spend over a million pounds of public money on a five-week trial about an alleged wrongful benefit payment of some £45,000 over a period of seven years?
The government’s legal machine has thrown at me everything it could. It employed a top QC, supported at times by as many as nine advisors. It turned a simple allegation into 25 separate charges with 147 alleged justifications of guilt.
After the verdict, one of the 180 press officers at the Department of Work and Pensions briefed the media using allegations which had been totally refuted during enquiries years before and which were demolished again during sworn evidence.
The DWP’s press briefings were not just spin. They included barefaced lies. Their purpose can only have been to destroy my political reputation and stop my activities against the EU on behalf of the voters of south-east England.
A formal letter of complaint is going to the Minister demanding a rigorous internal investigation about the behaviour of the DWP press office. It will draw particular attention to Article 5 of the Perjury Act 1911 which deals with the falsification of information by government officials.
This decision by the Court of Appeal is a dire warning to all those on benefit who, on their own initiative, want to get themselves back to work. No government minister can in future complain about the numbers on benefit. Such talk will be utter humbug. My case proves the regulations criminalise any serious efforts at self-help.
Before and since the trial my postbag has been full of messages of support, a great many from people I hardly know. All but three recognised the reality of what was going on, what the government’s true purpose was, and urged me not to buckle.
I have not and will not. I am made of sterner stuff. I grew up with German bombs falling every night. Neither the British government, nor – for that matter – the European Union are going to get rid of me that easily.
I was elected to do a job. I shall continue to do it.