I was genuinely saddened to learn of the passing of the former South West MEP Graham Booth this week.
I shared offices with Graham in Brussels for about 3 years, I always enjoyed his company, and especially his politically incorrect sense of humour. He was very popular with staff, and I well remember the afternoon when we held a surprise birthday party for him. In those days we were a close-knit team, and there was a real sense of comraderie which I miss.
We didn't always see eye to eye - Graham was an avowed climate change denier, his position being based on a CSE in astronomy. I loved to wind him up on the subject, but his position was unshakable.
When the Royal British Legion in Brussels was struggling with membership and calling for numbers in order to keep the branch open, Graham was one of the first two MEPs to sign up, the other being Tom Wise.
Sadly, things went wrong during his final months in Brussels. I was disappointed to receive a phone call from a UKIP branch official in the South West informing me that Graham was calling around telling everybody that I and two other staffers were MI5 agents. I don't hold it against him, I know exactly from where these bilious lies emanated.
Graham put a lot into UKIP, in financial terms and also in terms of his personal time and energy. He was absolutely committed to the cause of British independence. His retirement was cut short, but knowing Graham, I suspect he enjoyed every minute of it!