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Businessman comes to UKIP's aid

A RETIRED Kent businessman has pledged to help fund the UK Independence Party after it lost one of its key donors.

Former bookmaker Alan Bown, from Thanet, said he would be prepared to make good any shortfall caused by a decision by millionaire Paul Sykes to stop giving UKIP money for its campaign.

Mr Bown, who is currently in Turkey on business, has already donated £500,000 to UKIP and said he would "continue to fund any shortfall that's necessary through Paul's withdrawing."

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Bown said: "Two hundred thousand pounds would be no problem. I'm not saying I can raise £1 million overnight, but I have a considerable property portfolio and I'm happy to back whatever it takes."

Mr Bown made a string of donations to UKIP running up to the European elections in June. Among them was £2,000 to the Canterbury and Thanet local party and £500 to the Maidstone branch of the party. His company’s headquarters is registered at Ramsgate.

Kent Euro MP Nigel Farage welcomed the news of a new donor but said Mr Bown shared his reservations about UKIP trying to contest every parliamentary constituency.

“He has been a substantial donor before although he does have reservations about us contesting every seat, as I do.”

Mr Sykes, who had donated £1.4m, thinks UKIP will achieve little more than unseating Eurosceptic Tory MPs after pledging to fight most seats at the general election.

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