It is being reported by The Guardian (among others) that North West England MEP Den Dover has been expelled from the Conservative Party after being found to have broken European Parliament expenses rules.

Mr Dover – who lost his parliamentary seat in Chorley at the 1997 general election but won his seat in Brussels in 1999 – is reportedly having to pay back £500,000 he claimed in expenses for which he cannot account and will now face an investigation by  the EU’s anti-fraud body, OLAF.

He was forced to resign as Chief Whip of the Tory group of MEPs in June when questions were first raised over expenses payments to a company of which his wife and daughter were directors.

The following statement has been issued by Philip Bushill-Matthews, current leader of the Tory MEPs:

"Earlier this year, allegations were made regarding the improper use
of Mr Dover’s parliamentary expenses. The European parliamentary
authorities launched a very thorough investigation, which has now come
to an end.

"Today, Mr Dover shared with us the outcome of this
investigation. From this, we learned he is required to repay the
parliament a significant six-figure sum. On the basis of this
information andm after consulting David Cameron, I have instructed the
MEPs’ chief whip to withdraw the whip from Mr Dover with immediate

"This, in turn, means he will not be a Conservative candidate at the European parliament elections in 2009."

Giles Chichester – who was forced to resign as group leader over similar allegations made at the same time as those against Mr Dover – was recently cleared of any wrongdoing.

Mr Dover’s expulsion will mean that Jacqui Foster can expect to rise to third place on the party’s regional list for the North West at next June’s European elections.

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