UKIP is opening its first office for Bournemouth East in a former massage parlour closed for offering sexual services.
The office will be officially opened by Ukip deputy chairman Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine in the former Rose Beauty massage parlour in Christchurch Road, Pokesdown.
Rose Beauty closed down last year after police identified it as a brothel, but David Hughes, local Ukip branch chairman, said he was unaware of the history of the premises until yesterday.
“It was a dress shop when I went to see it in June,” he said.
“I can’t think that what was there before is of any relevance, although local people may have memories about what went on there.”
He said the Eurosceptic party was expanding so quickly it was stretching its organisational capacity and new premises were required to provide a base for next year’s election campaign.
And former Bournemouth madam turned Ukip activist Vanessa Coleman - who ran different venues than the one being used for the office - has arranged a fundraising VIP afternoon tea with the Hamiltons on the day of the launch, at Boscombe’s Liston Hotel.
The 68-year-old joined the party several years ago and has become a committed fundraiser, albeit with no official role.
A former dominatrix herself, Ms Coleman was jailed for eight months in 2006 for running venues for prostitution and possessing counterfeit goods. Her sentence was later reduced by the Court of Appeal.
Speaking to the Daily Echo, former Tory MP Mr Hamilton praised her as a “brilliant organiser” and “a remarkable person”.
“I have known Vanessa for a couple of years now and I think she is wonderful,” he said.
“She is a very warm, genuine and honest person, and I am pleased to call her a friend.
“When someone has paid the price society exacts for breaking the law, then they are entitled to consider the slate wiped clean.
“And it is not as if she was a murderer or thief, or did anything to cause harm to people who didn’t want it done to them.”
Ms Coleman claimed her two brothels in Christchurch Road and Wimborne Road – which netted an annual turnover of nearly £640,000 – were well-run, with happy staff and customers.
She said she informed police when she heard about women being trafficked and most of the profits went to her 30-or-so working girls.
She later wrote a book – An Accidental Madam – about how she got involved with the sex trade, and has since been involved in charity fundraising – particularly for London-based activities group Phab.
The new Ukip office is due to open on August 16 at noon, with the afternoon tea to follow at 2pm.
The latter event will include an auction, raffle and professional photo booth.