Wales politics

UKIP's Hamilton could back Welsh ministers' M4 plans

Relief road route Image copyright Welsh Government
Image caption Ministers' preferred route for an M4 relief road has been criticised for its financial and environmental cost

UKIP assembly group leader Neil Hamilton has offered Labour his party's support to get an £1.1bn M4 relief road in south Wales passed by the Senedd.

The "black" route favoured by ministers is opposed by Plaid Cymru and Lib Dem Kirsty Williams, as well as some Labour AMs and environmental groups.

UKIP's assembly election manifesto backed the cheaper "blue" route, to relieve congestion around Newport.

Mr Hamilton said having the black route was "better than no route".

He told AMs on Wednesday: "We came to this place to be constructive in our position and we want to play the kind of role, which Plaid Cymru claims now to be playing, in relation to the development of government policy.

Image caption Neil Hamilton offers UKIP support to Labour ministers on a policy of their own AMs oppose

"I just want to say, in relation to the black route or the blue route, my party is prepared to enter into discussions and negotiations with the government.

"We think the black route is better than no route, and so if this is necessary to unblock the logjam we are prepared to play our part in it."

Mr Jones said: "I hear what the leader of UKIP has said. It's important that the process now moves forward."

It was "difficult to see an alternative" to the black route, the first minister.

Image copyright IWA/CILT
Image caption This shows the black route and other options including the unofficial blue route. The yellow line marks the railway

A decision is due before the summer recess on holding a public inquiry into the scheme, with construction scheduled to start in 2018.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, who faced Labour criticism after UKIP backed her bid to become first minister in a tied Senedd vote in May, told Mr Jones: "It looks like you might be able to strike a deal with UKIP, first minister, on the future of the black route.

"How very interesting."

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