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Thursday, April 06, 2017

Latest defection is a major blow for Welsh Asembly UKIP group

The prospective defection of South Wales East AM and former UKIP MP, Mark Reckless to sit as an Independent is a major blow for the UKIP group in the Welsh Assembly, far more so than their estrangement with the party's former Welsh leader, Nathan Gill.

The BBC report that Reckless is set to quit his latest party and vote with the Conservative group in the Assembly. However, speculation that this will make the Tories the main opposition are premature as Reckless will sit as an AM and not as yet, formally join the Tory group.

Mark Reckless of course, was very close to UKIP's former only MP, Douglas Carswell. He worked for Carswell part-time and presumably this defection will enable him to continue with that work if both parties wish it.

However, his departure is a major blow for the UKIP group. Reckless was effectively leader, Neil Hamilton's right-hand man. He chaired an Assembly Committee as UKIP's nominee, served on the Assembly's Business Committee, was the go-to man for procedural issues and was the obvious choice for special projects such as the Presiding Officer's reference group on constitutional change, on which I also serve.

There is nobody else of any comparable calibre within the UKIP group and his departure leaves Hamilton isolated, surrounded by a rag bag of eccentrics and nonentiies, leading a declining party who could barely scrape together enough local council candidates to fill a small room, 80 for 1,200 vacancies.
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