The co-leader of the eurosceptic group in the European Parliament, Nigel Farage, used Sharon Ellul Bonici's husband to reply to questions from The Sunday Times about the Labour candidate's MEP bid.

This came to light after Mr Farage's assistant inadvertently included in the reply to The Sunday Times Mr Ellul Bonici's unedited e-mail containing his name and answers.

In his reply, Kevin Ellul Bonici, who has been employed in Brussels by Mr Farage's eurosceptic group for a number of years, advises the assistant to "check his English" and ensure the replies "sound more British". The e-mail was also copied to his wife.

Mr Ellul Bonici thanked Mr Farage for tipping him off about the newspaper's questions and added that "this is good PR (public relations) and she's (Ms Ellul Bonici) doing very well so far".

Questions sent by this newspaper to the Ellul Bonicis about the e-mail incident remained unanswered, despite various reminders.

Although Ms Ellul Bonici, who had led the 'No to EU' campaign against Malta's membership to the EU in the 2004 referendum, has said that she severed her contacts with the eurosceptics in Brussels, in his replies her husband said that she would still be welcome to rejoin the anti-EU party if she was not elected on Labour's ticket next month.

"I would rather see Sharon elected as an MEP. She deserves this and Malta would do very well to elect her. If not elected she is obviously always welcome with us as an experienced and knowledgeable politician," Mr Ellul Bonici wrote on Mr Farage's behalf.

Mr Ellul Bonici also confirmed that his wife was approached by various eurosceptic political formations to contest on their list in the June 6 elections, but she chose Labour.

"She had the opportunity with all our backing but she preferred her natural party, which is Labour. Our group (Independence/Democracy) does not field candidates directly, but I did offer Sharon to be on the UKIP (UK Independence Party) list in the UK with clear possibilities of being elected, which she refused. I am also aware that the EU Democrats would also have loved to have Sharon on their list. The same is the case with Libertas."

Asked to state whether the eurosceptics had tried to find a replacement for Ms Ellul Bonici to contest Malta's June elections, Mr Farage's response was that this was not possible.

"No one can replace Sharon in Malta," he answered for the eurosceptic leader in Brussels.

Following Malta's referendum to join the EU, the Ellul Bonicis left Malta to work full-time with the eurosceptics in Brussels.

In recent years, Ms Ellul Bonici has been involved with various eurosceptic campaigns steered by her group.

One of the most high-profile activities was a protest by eurosceptic MEPs in the Strasbourg chamber against the Lisbon Treaty where Ms Ellul Bonici had to be escorted out of the chamber by the EP ushers on instructions by the EP President.

Asked by The Sunday Times to react to the fact that one of the eurosceptic campaigners he had complained about was now on his party's election ticket in Malta, Socialist MEP Richard Corbett declined to comment.

However, he said he presumed that Ms Ellul Bonici had now "revised her views". Ms Ellul Bonici was not allowed to contest the general election on behalf of the PL last year, a decision that was reversed by Labour's new leader Joseph Muscat for the MEP elections.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us