Just why did a company owned by a former UKIP leader pay Andrew Bridgen £500?

Here’s an interesting one. According to the register of members’ interests, on 17th November 2020, prominent Tory MP Andrew Bridgen received £500 for writing four articles from a company called “Open Dialogus Ltd”. “Open Dialogus” now has almost no presence on the Web.

It’s website appears to have been taken offline earlier this year, and its Twitter account has vanished. Fortunately, the Web Archive exists, so you can get a flavour of the kinds of content it published: criticisms of lockdowns, support for various flavours of Trumpist nonsense…

And Andrew Bridgen, writing about “The Legacy of Greville Janner“…

“Open Dialogus” had no employees; its one and only filing showed it still managed to lose £30,000, yet still paid an MP £500 to write, or at least put his name to, four rather dull blog posts.

The sole director of Open Dialogus is Daniel William Emmerson, and it took a while to track him down. But it looks like he is, in fact, the former chair of UKIP North West Hampshire, who was suspended from the party after some kind of disagreement.

Since then – like most right winders, Emmerson has taken to YouTube. Here he is talking about Open Dialogus, and it certainly doesn’t sound like he’s changed his political views since his UKIP days (he openly called for Johnson to go because he’s not right-wing enough):

Of course, Emmerson has plenty more videos on YouTube – and here he is saying that he knows Brigden and Mark Francois, and they are “the only true conservatives”:

In other words, it appears Andrew Bridgen MP was paid £500 by a company run by a former UKIP local leader who promotes policies at odds with those of his party and doesn’t actually consider any of his Conservative colleagues to be real conservatives (other than Mr Toad).

And – perhaps most importantly – there’s another question: how did Bridgen come to know – and get paid by – a former UKIP local leader? Where did they, and presumably Francois, meet? Perhaps he can tell us.

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