Wales politics

UKIP's Neil Hamilton in Welsh assembly candidate list

UKIP candidates graphic Image copyright Getty Images/Wales Online
Image caption Lead candidates on the regional lists are the most likely to be elected for UKIP

Ex-Tory MPs Neil Hamilton and Mark Reckless are among the candidates chosen to top UKIP's assembly election regional lists.

It follows a bitter row amid claims they were being imposed on Wales.

UKIP Wales leader Nathan Gill said it was time for the party to unite after members voted on a list approved by the national executive committee (NEC).

Experts suggest UKIP could get nine AMs elected via the regional lists based on a recent ITV poll.

Forty of the assembly's 60 members are elected on a constituency basis, as in general elections.

The other 20 are elected in a second vote via regional lists, under a proportional system designed to give parties a share of seats that more closely reflects their share of the total vote across Wales.

Regional lists are seen as UKIP's best hope of winning its first ever seats in Cardiff Bay.

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Media captionNeil Hamilton says he is 'devoted' to his native Wales and wants to make it better

Mr Hamilton was chosen to head the regional list for Mid and West Wales, while Mr Reckless will be the lead candidate in South Wales East.

NEC member Caroline Jones topped the list for South Wales West with former council candidate Gareth Bennett in South Wales Central.

Mr Gill received the most votes and will be lead candidate in North Wales.

"The Welsh membership have now had their say, and I am glad that that our list candidates for the Welsh elections have now been confirmed," he said.

"Now is the time for all of us to move forward united and to campaign to bring real change to the political establishment in Cardiff Bay.

"We have a great manifesto and a great message and I look forward to leading the UKIP Wales team from the front in the campaign ahead."

A Welsh Labour spokesman said: "After such a drawn out and divisive process, it's pathetic that all UKIP are able to offer the people of Wales are a gaggle of failed Tories."

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams claimed UKIP had "no interest in standing up for communities in Wales", urging supporters of other parties to back the Lib Dems with their second vote.

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