Blow for Nigel Farage as Neil Hamilton wins UKIP assembly group leadership

Written by David Singleton on 10 May 2016 in Diary
Diary

Could Ukip top job be next for the man once branded ‘a liar and a cheat’?

Neil Hamilton has been elected as the leader of UKIP's seven-strong group in the Welsh Assembly, after audaciously ousting a close ally of Nigel Farage.

The party's AMs met on Tuesday in the Senedd to decide who should lead them. In an outcome that stunned political observers in Wales, the former Conservative MP deposed the party’s Welsh leader Nathan Gill as he got the nod by four votes to three.

Hamilton was among the winners for Ukip as the party celebrated getting its first ever seats in the assembly last week. But the choice of Hamilton as leader at Cardiff Bay will be seen as a major blow for the Ukip national leader.

It follows revelations in March that Farage was so desperate to stop Hamilton from fighting for a seat on the Welsh Assembly that he he ripped up an internal assessment of candidates which put Hamilton in prime position. However Ukip’s National Executive Committee – of which Hamilton is a member – put the matter out to a vote of members and the ex-Tory MP was placed top of the list for Mid and West Wales.

Gill will continue as leader of UKIP Wales, a position appointed by the UKIP leader. However some in Ukip believe that today’s development could signal the start of a challenge both to Gill’s leadership in Wales - and possibly even Farage in the UK.

Hamilton confirmed his successful bid at an impromptu news conference in an assembly corridor.

"We've achieved an outcome by consensus," he said. "We decided to put all past differences behind us and forget the lead up to the election campaign, where there was a lot of personal animosity created.

"I've been chosen to do a specific job to be leader of the UKIP AMs within the assembly. I've got great deal of parliamentary experience. I've been a government minister.

I'm going to make use of that experience within the group to give UKIP the maximum amount of impact during the course of the next five years."

Hamilton entered the Commons as a Tory MP in 1983 and served as a minister under John Major. In 1994 The Guardian published allegations that he had accepted envelopes of cash from Harrods boss Mohamed al-Fayed in exchange for parliamentary questions.

Hamilton sued The Guardian for libel, but dropped the case at the eleventh hour. The affair led to the paper branding him “a liar and a cheat” on its front page.

 

 

Meanwhile, the Guardian has reported that Hamilton’s wife, Christine, said her husband would not speak to the paper because of a "vile" article by Michael White this week. In the article, Farage is described as a "shameless, self-promoting rascal".

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Pro-Corbyn activists offered propaganda masterclasses after local party purges
23 August 2019

Labour members are being offered classes on how to run their local associations after a bitter power struggle for the party's soul left dozens of local associations under new Corbynite ownership...

Glen O'Hara: The Boris bounce is less buoyant than it seems
13 August 2019

Behind the headline polling numbers Boris Johnson's path to a Commons majority is rockier than it looks.

Pro-EU campaigners admit one of their biggest no-deal Brexit fears is rubbish
8 August 2019

Pro-EU campaigners have assembled in the heart of Westminster to declare that one of their biggest no-deal Brexit fears is a load of rubbish.

Conservatives slammed for banking almost £4m from anonymous donors since 2016
7 August 2019

The Tories accepted almost £4m in cash from anonymous donor groups while Theresa May was leader, Total Politics can reveal.