Wales politics

Predictions of UKIP gaining nine AMs backed by deputy leader

Paul Nuttall

UKIP's deputy leader has endorsed suggestions it could win nine seats in May's Welsh assembly election.

Paul Nuttall told the BBC the party could also secure three seats in the London Assembly.

Mr Nuttall was speaking to the Daily Politics programme, as UKIP members gathered for the party's spring conference in Llandudno, Conwy county.

But UKIP Wales leader Nathan Gill said a good result would be two seats in all five electoral areas, giving 10 seats.

"We know we're not going to be electing a UKIP first minister, but there has to be growth and stepping stones in every single election," he said.

Earlier in February, ITV and Cardiff University research indicated nine UKIP AMs could be elected on 5 May.

Mr Nuttall said: "I want to see us get elected to those assemblies, because let's not forget UKIP at the moment is the only political party that has people elected in all four parts of the kingdom, and I believe after the assembly elections we will have maybe nine members of the Welsh assembly and maybe three members of the London Assembly.

"The primary goal [of the party] is to get us out of the European Union but, equally, as a fully-fledged political party, we'll be concentrating on those elections as well."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionUKIP Wales leader Nathan Gill: "We know we're not going to be electing a UKIP first minister"

UKIP has said it is making preparations for its "first ever UK stronghold of elected politicians" in Cardiff Bay.

Its six main policies include a plan to halve the number of NHS senior managers and reintroduce grammar schools.

However, with just over two months to go to the election, the party has still not finalised its candidate selections.

Members have until next Friday to vote on UKIP's regional candidates.

On Thursday, former national organiser John Atkinson resigned from the party, saying "infighting" had become a distraction from the EU referendum campaign.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage and the party's Wales leader Nathan Gill will address the conference on Saturday.

UKIP Wales' main policies for the assembly election are:

  • Make local health boards elected and halve the number of NHS managers on six-figure salaries
  • Reintroduce grammar schools and establish "university technical colleges" for 14-19 year olds
  • Oppose tax powers for the assembly without a referendum
  • Oppose any increase in the number of AMs
  • Devolve economic development powers to local authorities
  • Scrap the Severn bridge tolls

Analysis by Vaughan Roderick, BBC Welsh affairs editor

UKIP decided to hold its spring conference in Wales as a launch pad for its campaign of this year's assembly election, where polls suggest the party could establish a strong bridgehead in Cardiff Bay.

Things seldom go smoothly for UKIP though and the weeks leading up to the conference have been overshadowed by rows over candidate selections and resignations from the party.

It is embarrassing to say the least that as the party faithful gather in Llandudno, UKIP has yet to select candidates for the crucial regional list seats.

The announcement of the date for the European referendum will heighten interest in the conference and the party is certain to attempt to showcase the case for Brexit and for its own role in the 'Leave' campaign.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites