Wales politics

UKIP leader Nigel Farage drops Hamilton as deputy chair

Neil Hamilton
Image caption Neil Hamilton's assembly candidacy has been highly controversial within UKIP

Neil Hamilton is being replaced as UKIP deputy chair because he is standing in the Welsh assembly election, Nigel Farage has said.

The UKIP leader said Mr Hamilton's role as candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr would limit the part he can play in the EU referendum campaign.

Mr Hamilton hopes to be selected as a candidate on the regional list as well.

The party's other deputy chair, London Assembly candidate Suzanne Evans, has also been replaced.

'Good wishes'

Mr Farage said UKIP could make "significant breakthroughs" in an "important set of elections on May 5th" but added that the party's "frontline spokesmen need to be free to comment and campaign on the main issues".

"Both of our deputy chairs are candidates in the upcoming elections and this will limit any role they can play in the national referendum campaign," he said.

"So I thank Suzanne Evans and Neil Hamilton for their time as deputy chairs and announce they will be replaced by Diane James and William Dartmouth."

Responding, Mr Hamilton told BBC Wales: "I am pleased to have Nigel's good wishes for my candidature for the Welsh assembly.

"If successful in May, I look forward to reciprocating in full measure the support he has given me in so many ways in recent years."

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