Janice Ann Atkinson (born 31 August 1962) is an independent Member of the European Parliament for the South East England region and member of the far-right Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) parliamentary group. She formerly represented the UK Independence Party (UKIP), but in March 2015 was expelled from UKIP for "bringing the party into disrepute" after her chief of staff was recorded trying to fraudulently inflate her expenses.1
As of 2014, she was “involved in a business called gotradelive.com which is similar to Amazon and eBay, but has a reverse auction and cataloguing facility and is free. Unlike Amazon and eBay, we pay our UK taxes, employ UK nationals and campaign against corporatism and to return to good old-fashioned capitalism.”2
She is a frequent Moscow flyer, having served as election observer to the Russian presidential election,3 and appearing frequently on RT and Sputnik.
Since November 2017 she is hosting the show “Make Europe Great Again” published by the Youtube channel of the European political party Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom (fr: Mouvement pour une Europe des Nations et des Libertés).4
Her latest gig is with Rebel Media, a platform supported by Alt-Right billionaire Robert Mercer.5
Atkinson grew up as the daughter of a miner and a cleaning lady. While her father was a socialist, her mother was a Tories supporter. Before she was legally allowed to vote, she “campaigned for Margaret Thatcher,” according to her own account.2 Atkinson subsequently became member of the Conservative Party and ran a marketing business for two decades prior to becoming an MEP.
“My business life entailed working in marketing communications for FTSE 100 companies."2
As Janice Small, she was a press officer for the Conservatives in the south-east during the 2005 general election and in the 2010 general election, she was the Conservative candidate for Batley and Spen, finishing second, 4,406 votes behind Labour incumbent Mike Wood.6 She was also director of Conservative Action for Electoral Reform.7
Atkinson joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in 2011, citing David Cameron's failure to produce a referendum on European Union membership.8
It was also reported that, before she joined UKIP, Atkinson was dropped from the 2011 alternative vote campaign following a meeting with undecided Conservatives in which she mentioned "her support for elements of" the British National Party's platform.9 A few days later Atkinson swore at anti-racism campaigners. The incident followed her call for 'abusive' anti-UKIP protestors to be arrested by the police. A photo capturing the moment was widely reported and went viral on social media.10 Atkinson, who has described towns in Kent as 'no-go areas' as a result of Eastern European immigration, has defended her position, claiming she marched as part of the Anti-Nazi League in her youth.11
As Janice Atkinson-Small she wrote a column for the Daily Mail from December 2011 to August 2012.12
In 2014, Atkinson was reported to be an associate of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a big business initiative to support climate change deniers.13
“Three of Nigel Farage's MEPs, including its energy spokesperson Roger Helmer, have added their names to a letter signed by over 200 US state lawmakers and organised by the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec).”13
In August 2014 she issued an apology after being recorded by a BBC News crew referring to the Thai (or Thai-born) wife of a constituent, who were both UKIP supporters, as "a ting-tong from somewhere", a term used in Thailand for people with mental health problems.14 The woman and her husband threatened to withdraw from UKIP membership but changed their mind after a personal apology from UKIP leader Nigel Farage.15 16 Interviewed on camera later at their home, the woman and her husband said that Atkinson hadn't apologised to them and was quite belligerent. Whilst speaking of Atkinson, Farage said "99% of UKIP members aren't like that and don't hold those views”.15
In December 2014 it was revealed that Atkinson, whose annual salary as an MEP was around £79,000 per year, owed more than £2,000 in unpaid child support.17 Her ex-husband claimed this had "caused major hardship for her son and for her family".17 Atkinson was singled out for criticism as she had previously attacked "feckless families" who have more children than they can afford.18 19
She was selected as the UKIP candidate for Folkestone and Hythe for the 2015 general election, before being expelled from the party and withdrawn as its candidate due to a 'serious financial irregularity’.20
On 19 March 2015 Atkinson was suspended from the party following "allegations of a serious financial nature".20 The Sun published a secret recording in which Atkinson's chief of staff, Christine Hewitt, spoke to a staff member at a restaurant in Margate and asked them for a fraudulent invoice, inflating the bill to over three times the cost of the £950 meal.21 22
“The Sun filmed Christine Hewitt, Ms Atkinson’s chief of staff, asking a restaurant manager for an invoice for a party in Margate that cost £950. She asked for a higher sum and eventually was given an invoice for £3,150.”23
On 23 March Atkinson was expelled from UKIP for "bringing the party into disrepute".25 No legal action was taken against Atkinson, but Hewitt pled guilty to fraud and was given a suspended sentence.26 27 Atkinson was cleared of all allegations by the Kent Police and no further action was taken against her.28 29
In the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017, Atkinson called for death penalty for those convicted of terrorist crimes.31
Since November 2017, Janice Atkinson is presenter of the show “Make Europe Great Again” published by the Youtube channel of the European political party Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom (fr: Mouvement pour une Europe des Nations et des Libertés).4
On March 1, 2018, Atkinson was one of three UK MEPs who voted against a motion to encourage national parliaments to ban "gay conversion therapies".32
In March 2018, she appeared also as an election observer of the Russian presidential elections.33
On a photo from that trip she can be see together with Louis Aliot, vice-president of RN; Elie Hatem, lawyer and ex-aide to Jean-Marie Le Pen and a member of the political board of the monarchist, far-right Action Française;34 andGian Luigi Ferretti, founder of the center-right daily newspaper L’Italiano35 and head of international relations at the Unione Generale del Lavoro (General Labour Union), which was closely associated with the neo-Fascist party Alleanza Nazionale.
In June 2018, she announced her book launch of “Migrant Crime Wave: The EU Cover Up Revealed” with a foreword by Matteo Salvini.36
In July 2018 a video was published by the European party Mouvement pour une Europe des Nations et des Libertés, where Atkinson is discussing with Tom Dupre from Generation Identity, UK, i.a. about the Grand Replacement - the same idea behind the Christchurch killer's manifesto.37
RT & Sputnik
In October 2016 Atkinson shared her concern about Europe becoming a target for jihadists fleeing the Middle East.39 In March 2017 Atkinson talked about the complaint handed in by European Parliament members against Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.40 In June 2018 Atkinson spoke about Brexit and the implications of a no-deal scenario.41 On March 21, 2019, in a Sputnik op-ed dealing with the delayed Brexit negotiations, she was opening with the sentence “How dare she [Theresa May] state that she's delivering Brexit by kicking it into the long grass until 30 June?.“42
- 1Matt Leclere, "Janice Atkinson expenses investigation: Ex-Ukip MEP cleared by Kent Police after allegations into false claims at Margate pub,” Kent Online, 2 February 2016, https://www.kentonline.co.uk/folkestone/news/ex-ukip-candidate-cleared-of-expenses-70215/; "Janice Atkinson: MEP to face no action over receipt claim,” BBC News, 2 February 2016, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-kent-35469409.
- 2 a b c “About Me,” Janice Atkinson, archived on 7 December 2014, https://web.archive.org/web/20141207071348/http://www.janiceatkinson.co.uk/About-Me.htm.
- 3"Janice Atkinson talks to RT Int,” YouTube, 18 March 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDb53O3KERg.
- 4 a b "MEGA TV: Make Europe Great Again," Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqyhVX9wYOqP6hpGgfFDn_yWYpH6c2iOr.
- 5 a b Damien Leloup, “Des milliardaires américains financent discrètement des campagnes de désinformation en Europe,” Le Monde, 7 March 2019, https://www.lemonde.fr/pixels/article/2019/03/07/des-milliardaires-americains-financent-discretement-des-campagnes-de-desinformation-en-europe_5432486_4408996.html.
- 6"Janice Small – Conservative,” winsfordguardian.co.uk, https://web.archive.org/web/20180320105424/http://www.winsfordguardian.co.uk/news/elections/general_election_2010/constituencies/148.batley___spen/candidates/3443._janice_small/.
- 7 "Conservatives and electoral reform,” opendemocracy.net, 8 June 2009, www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/janet_small/conservatives_electoral_reform.
- 8"Tory Janice Small defects to UKIP in row over Europe,” Spenboroughguardian.co.uk, 10 October 2011, www.spenboroughguardian.co.uk/news/local/tory-janice-small-defects-to-ukip-in-row-over-europe-1-3845814.
- 9“Controversy just follows some people around …,“ Evening Standard, 15 May 2014, https://www.standard.co.uk/news/londoners-diary/controversy-just-follows-some-people-around-9377018.html.
- 10Sarah Linney, “Ukip candidate slams protesters she swore at as ‘fat’ and ‘a witch’,” Your Canterbury, 19 May 2014, https://web.archive.org/web/20141219125539/http://www.yourcanterbury.co.uk/news/ukip_candidate_slams_protesters_she_swore_at_as_fat_and_a_witch_1_3606823.
- 11Paul Francis, "UKIP candidate Janice Atkinson defends claim Kent has no-go areas due to Eastern European gangs,” Kent Online, 11 May 2014, www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/eastern-europeans-are-creating-no-go-17019/.
- 12"Janice Atkinson-Small's columns for the Mail,” dailymail.co.uk, www.dailymail.co.uk/columnists/columnist-1072422/Janice-Atkinson-Small-Daily-Mail.html?pageOffset=1.
- 13 a b Alex Stevenson, "Climate deniers: Ukip in bed with corporate America,” politics.co.uk, 5 November 2014, www.politics.co.uk/news/2014/11/05/climate-deniers-ukip-in-bed-with-corporate-america.
- 14Nicholas Watt, "Ukip MEP apologises for insulting Thai supporter,” The Guardian, 18 August 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/18/ukip-mep-apology-thai-insult.
- 15 a b "UKIP leader Farage sorry for MEP Janice Atkinson's 'offensive' term,” BBC, 19 August 2014, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-28853031.
- 16"UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson uses 'outrageous' term for Thai woman,” BBC Online, 18 August 2014, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-28840210
- 17 a b Kevin Rawlinson, ”MEP behind Ukip's welfare policy chased for child support,” Channel 4, 19 December 2014, www.channel4.com/news/ukip-janice-atkinson-welfare-child-support.
- 18Janice Atkinson, "Our welfare state is just rewarding feckless behaviour,” Daily Express, 8 March 2013, www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/382644/Our-welfare-state-is-just-rewarding-feckless-behaviour.
- 19Jenn Selby, ”Ukip MEP Janice Atkinson, who attacked 'feckless' welfare families, owes £2,000 in missed child support payments,” The Independent, 19 December 2014, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/ukip-mep-janice-atkinson-who-attacked-feckless-welfare-families-owes-2000-in-missed-child-support-payments-9935761.html.
- 20 a b Lizzie Dearden, "Ukip MEP Janice Atkinson suspended and axed as election candidate over 'financial allegations’,” The Independent, 19 March 2015, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/ukip-mep-janice-atkinson-suspended-and-axed-as-election-candidate-over-financial-allegations-10120992.html.
- 21“Nigel Farage: UKIP Janice Atkinson allegations 'couldn't look worse’," BBC News, 20 March 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-31982168.
- 22 a b c Paul Gallagher, "Ukip's suspended members: Janice Atkinson joins long list as police investigate her expenses,” The Independent, 20 March 2015, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/ukips-suspended-members-janice-atkinson-joins-list-as-police-investigate-her-expenses-10123094.html.
- 23Ian Johnston, “Ukip MEP Janice Atkinson's staff 'tripled restaurant bill to claim more EU expenses’,” The Independent, 19 March 2015, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/ukip-mep-janice-atkinsons-staff-tripled-restaurant-bill-to-claim-more-eu-expenses-10121354.html.
- 24“Nigel Farage: UKIP Janice Atkinson allegations 'couldn't look worse’," BBC News, 20 March 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015,https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-31982168.
- 25"UKIP's Janice Atkinson expelled from party,” BBC News, 23 March 2015, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32028343.
- 26Paul Hooper, "Former Ukip MEP Janice Atkinson's aide Christine Hewitt, from Maidstone, sentenced for inflating meal receipt in Margate,” Kent Online, 7 September 2016, www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet/news/ukip-aide-avoids-jail-for-102081/.
- 27"UKIP activist Christine Hewitt admits restaurant expense fraud,” BBC, 8 September 2016, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-37299467.
- 28Matt Leclere, "Janice Atkinson expenses investigation: Ex-Ukip MEP cleared by Kent Police after allegations into false claims at Margate pub,” Kent Online, 2 February 2016, https://www.kentonline.co.uk/folkestone/news/ex-ukip-candidate-cleared-of-expenses-70215/.
- 29"Janice Atkinson: MEP to face no action over receipt claim,” BBC News, 2 February 2016, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-kent-35469409.
- 30Rowena Mason, "Ex-Ukip Janice Atkinson joins Le Pen-led EU group,” The Guardian,16 June 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/16/ex-ukip-janice-atkinson-joins-le-pen-led-eu-group.
- 31Tom Pyman, "Kent politician demands return of the death penalty following Manchester terror attack,” Kent News, 23 May 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170810145806/http://www.kentnews.co.uk/news/kent-politician-demands-return-of-the-death-penalty-following-manchester-terror-attack-1-5030744.
- 32"Situation of fundamental rights in the EU in 2016 - VoteWatch Europe,” VoteWatch Europe, www.votewatch.eu/en/term8-situation-of-fundamental-rights-in-the-eu-in-2016-motion-for-resolution-after-paragraph-63-amendment-2.html.
- 33“Janice Atkinson talks to RT Int,” RT Producers, Youtube, 18 March 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDb53O3KERg.
- 34“Ex-aide to Jean-Marie Le Pen: ‘Zionists, Freemasons’ control French media,” Times of Israel, 19 February 2016, https://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-aide-to-jean-marie-le-pen-zionists-freemasons-control-french-media/.
- 35L'Italiano, http://www.litaliano.it/
- 36Picture on Janice Atkinson's website, accessed 22 March 2019, http://www.janiceatkinson.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Migrant-Crime-Wave-poster.jpg.
- 37“MEGA TV episode 9: Conversation with Tom Dupre from Generation Identity, UK,” Mouvement pour une Europe des Nations et des Libertés, Youtube, 2 July 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyDGjvYtknQ.
- 38Ezra Levant, "Janice Atkinson: Covering European populism for The Rebel,” The Rebel. The Rebel Media. https://www.therebel.media/janice-atkinson-rebel-media-europe-populism-eu-rebel-media-news-politics.
- 39"'Europe is a sitting target for jihadists feeling Middle East' – Janice Atkinson,” RT, YouTube, 18 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X-miQuzAa0.
- 40"Janice Atkinson talks to RT International,” RT Producers, YouTube, 31 March 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEs-fOT_fXw.
- 41"Janice Atkinson MEP on Brexit,” RT Producers, YouTube, 6 June 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q593AOMZcyw.
- 42Janice Atkinson, “World on Brexit: Are We Nearly There Yet?,” Sputnik International, 21 March 2019, https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201903211073424830-brexit-theresa-may-eu-uk/?utm_source=short_direct&utm_medium=short_url&utm_content=kYRb&utm_campaign=URL_shortening.