Wales politics

UKIP faces rebellion over Welsh election candidates

Christine and Neil Hamilton Image copyright PA
Image caption Some UKIP members object to the idea of Neil Hamilton (pictured with wife Christine) standing

A number of UKIP branches in Wales plan to rebel if candidates from outside Wales are imposed on them for the assembly election, a senior party spokesperson has told BBC Wales.

It follows a row over reports that party leaders want former Tory MPs Neil Hamilton and Mark Reckless to stand.

Letters of objection have been sent to UKIP's national executive committee (NEC) ahead of a meeting on Monday.

BBC Wales understands two local parties have indicated they are likely to fold.

Other UKIP constituency parties in Wales are due to meet in the next few weeks with similar sentiments in mind, the spokesperson said.

Some Welsh members have warned that selecting candidates from outside Wales would be damaging.

In January, UKIP councillor Kevin Mahoney said he would quit the party if Mr Hamilton, Mr Reckless and Alexandra Phillips were selected on the regional lists, where the party is hoping to win several seats.

'People's army'

A senior party source later claimed UKIP's governing body was "defying" Welsh leader Nathan Gill by refusing to approve the list of candidates put forward by the party in Wales.

Branch chairmen have written to the NEC claiming that party rules have been broken over the candidate selection process, BBC Wales understands.

On Monday, the committee was meeting for the third time in as many weeks to discuss the matter.

The spokesperson who told BBC Wales of the unhappiness of activists added: "If UKIP Wales is the party of local democracy - a people's army if you will - how can it support an NEC/leadership fix?"

The party was unable to say when a final decision on the candidates would be made.

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