Disgraced MEP Ashley Mote has been told he must repay £67,000 of benefits he falsely claimed.

Mote, MEP for Spelthorne and Runnymede, was found guilty of 21 offences including false accounting and obtaining money by deception at Portsmouth Crown Court. He was jailed for nine months in September.

The 71-year-old has now been released from prison and is appealing against his conviction.

He challenged a decision by the Social Security Commissioners that the money he falsely claimed in income support and housing benefits between February 1996 and September 2002 be paid back.

His appeal was today rejected at the Court of Appeal.

Mote was elected as a UKIP MEP in 2004. He went on to stand as an independent after he was thrown out of the party.

During his trial the court heard Mote ran a business which collapsed in 2002.

He began claiming benefits, but the court was told he failed to notify the authorities when he started earning money again in 1996.

Calls were made for Mote to resign following his conviction. He has retained his seat in Europe as he would only have been disqualified if he has been given a prison term over 12 months.