Wales Election 2016

UKIP: Roles for MPs and councillors under assembly plan

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Media captionNathan Gill says all parties have internal strife over issues such as candidate selection

MPs and councillors would have new roles in the assembly under UKIP's plans for devolution.

In its manifesto for the election on 5 May, the party said it wanted Welsh MPs to look at legislation before it goes through the assembly.

It also said a panel of councillors should assist committees in Cardiff Bay as a way to avoid increasing the number of AMs from 60.

UKIP Wales' leader said the party would "unite", despite internal strife.

Nathan Gill launched the 48-page manifesto, "Raising the Dragon", in Newport on Friday.

Details: What is in UKIP Wales' manifesto?

It contains promises to launch a "full-scale independent inquiry" into the NHS, introduce elected health boards and treat cancer as a top priority.

In education, UKIP would scrap university tuition fees for medicine, science, maths and technology subjects.

Schools would be allowed to become grammar schools or vocational schools, reviving the 11-plus exam to select grammar school pupils.

Pledges in the manifesto also include plans to :

  • assign a specialist nurse to everyone in the acute stages of cancer
  • increase funding for mental health services
  • trial integrating fire and ambulance services where there is local support and train fire personnel as paramedics
  • introduce compulsory foreign language teaching in schools from the age of seven
  • create university technical colleges in Wales, on the English model
  • abolish Severn bridge tolls in two years' time
  • scrap the £73m Welsh government budget for climate change projects

On BBC Wales' Ask the Leader programme on Tuesday night, Mr Gill said he did not believe that climate change was caused by mankind.

On Friday, he denied that party infighting over choosing candidates had blown his campaign off course.

Earlier this week, Mr Gill said he probably would not have chosen two of UKIP's most high profile candidates had it been up to him - former Tory MPs Mark Reckless and Neil Hamilton.

Opinion polls have suggested the party is on course to win seats in the assembly for the first time, and Mr Gill insisted UKIP was "continuing to rise" in those polls.

"I think the reality is that all parties have internal strife around things like candidate selection, we've seen it with the Labour Party in Wales as well, you know, it's not unique to us," he said.

"Emotions are running high because we do know that we will make a breakthrough this time round and so people want to be part of that breakthrough, it's obvious.

"But we've got to unite a team, we've got a fantastic manifesto, we know what we want to achieve as a group of elected AMs.

"We're going to unite behind that and we will succeed."

Analysis by BBC Wales Political Editor Nick Servini

Mark Reckless was keen to stress that immigration wasn't mentioned once in the launch of the manifesto at a Newport theatre, and I clocked just the one mention of a leave vote in the EU referendum.

This was all about UKIP trying to appear competent, and most importantly, serious about devolved politics in a document of close to fifty pages.

On the doorstep, UKIP say the plan to bring in directly-elected health commissioners and to scrap the Severn tolls gets the most traction.

They also denied that giving a role to MPs and councillors is an attempt to clip the wings of the assembly, but to extend devolution closer to the people.

UKIP supporters are clearly enthused by the EU referendum, the challenge for the party is to extend that enthusiasm to the assembly vote on 5 May.

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