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Monday, August 08, 2016

Will UKIP's Welsh branch perform an act of self-immolation?

Despite their electoral success in recent years, UKIP in Wales remains a fairly small party in representative terms. Having been a member of a group of six and then five on the Welsh Assembly myself,  I know how difficult it is to cover all the committees, to properly scrutinise legislation and to hold Ministers to account when you are trying to do a number of jobs at the same time.

If therefore UKIP proceed with their plan later today to expel their only MEP, who is also one of their seven AMs, for what are effectively process issues, then there must be real questions as to their commitment as a group to do the job they were elected for.

Yes, Nathan Gill has two full time jobs and yes, that arrangement is unworkable over any length of time, but he has already said that his main priority is the Welsh Assembly and I would expect to see him there for the vast majority of the sessions allocated to him.

That is not to say that the Neil Hamilton faction do not have a point. Nathan Gill appears to have broken a clear promise to his party and to the electorate, whilst his determination to continue with both roles looks like jumping on the gravy-train.

In Nathan Gill's defence, isn't this the sort of behaviour we have come to expect from UKIP anyway? After all there is a long catalogue of some of their MEPs maximising their income from Europe, though I accept that this is not the motive in Gill's case.

As this affair comes to a head at a UKIP National Executive Committee meeting later today it is worth reflecting on the chaos that the party has visited upon itself since entering the Welsh Assembly. It is clear to me that this is a proxy row designed to remove opposition to the UKIP Assembly leader, Neil Hamilton.

For all their talk of shaking up Welsh politics, UKIP have been divided and ineffective from the start. As the real work begins in earnest next month in scrutinising ministers, debating legislation and conducting inquiries, there are real doubts as to whether a number of their AMs are up to the job they have been elected to do.

Just three months after the Assembly election, the Welsh branch of UKIP are looking like a busted flush already.
A power struggle for the 'top job' Now they have achieved Brexit they are having to develop a new direction. One new to them. A.Ms are supposed to represent the voters. Being a right wing lot it remains to be seen what the voters will think as new alliances appear. Whilst they are fighting themselves we must rebuild, to take a past leave comment 'To take control'
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