Wales politics

UKIP 'cronyism' assembly election selection row

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Media captionKevin Mahoney opposes candidates being 'parachuted in' by any party

A prominent UKIP member has criticised "cronyism" in the party, in a row about selecting assembly election candidates.

Kevin Mahoney said he will quit UKIP if ex-Tory MPs Neil Hamilton and Mark Reckless are chosen to stand.

UKIP has not formally announced any candidates, but Mr Mahoney said he had been endorsed as lead candidate for the South Wales Central region by the party's national executive committee.

Another meeting of the committee is scheduled for Friday.

He said Mr Reckless, Mr Hamilton and the party's head of media in Wales, Alexandra Phillips, "have no political association with Wales".

Mr Mahoney stood as a candidate in the Vale of Glamorgan, where he is a county councillor, at the 2015 general election.

Image caption Mark Reckless is amongst those from outside Wales seeking to become AMs
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Neil Hamilton, campaigning with his wife Christine, grew up in Carmarthenshire and was Conservative MP for Tatton in Cheshire

He said Ms Phillips had been chosen as a list candidate, but if Mr Hamilton and Mr Reckless were chosen too "I will have nothing further to do with the party".

"All these people have been foisted on Wales," he said.

"We had one chance of breaking the mould in the Welsh assembly.

"We have got plenty of candidates [who are] more than adequate.

"And unfortunately the party seems to have fallen prey to the same sort of political cronyism which I detest in other parties."

He added: "I don't want these people making laws in Wales."

Polls suggest UKIP could be on course to win seats in the assembly for the first time, in May.

UKIP declined to respond, other than confirming that there was a national executive committee meeting on Friday.

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