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Saturday, February 03, 2018

The on-going farce of the UKIP Welsh Assembly group

When seven UKIP AMs were elected to the Welsh Assembly in 2016 we were promised that they were going to shake up the establishment.

As expected the only shaking-up was committed within their own ranks, with a rancorous leadership contest, the departure of their Welsh leader to become an independent and then out of the Assembly altogether, and the refusal to accept his successor into their ranks. As a result they are now a group of five, but hardly a harmonious or effective group.

This is no better illustrated than with the Michelle Brown affair. The North Wales UKIP AM has already been under siege within her region by fellow party members plotting to get rid of her, she has also been the subject of a complaint by a Cardiff hotel, when she was accused by Future Inns of causing a "strong smell" in her room in May 2016.

The odour, which a spokesperson said was a 'strong tobacco product' meant the room could not be used for 24 hours and Ms Brown, who is from Mostyn in Flintshire, was fined £250.

Ms. Brown is now the subject of a Standards Committee inquiry after she called the MP for Streatham, Chuka Umunna, a "coconut" in a phone call in May 2016 to her then senior adviser Nigel Williams. A leaked report of the standards committee, which includes party colleague Gareth Bennett, has now ruled she committed a "severe breach" of the code of conduct and she faces a possible weeks suspension from the Assembly without pay..

The focus of this post however, is not about yet another faux pas by an elected UKIP official regarding race, but the very revealing remark made by Michelle Brown's spokesperson about her party colleague:

'The spokesman, alluding to occasions where Mr Bennett has drawn negative publicity, added: "Michelle Brown is not likely to take any lessons at all on political correctness or conduct, from Gareth Bennett."'

Whilst not disagreeing with the sentiments embodied in this put-down, it seems to me that even when reduced to five, the UKIP group cannot help but fight like ferrets in a sack.
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