Wales politics

Diane James: Welsh UKIP does not have 'two kings'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDiane James made the comments to the BBC Sunday Politics programme

UKIP's new leader has tried to heal divisions within the party in Wales, and denied it has "two kings".

Diane James said the leader of the party in Wales, Nathan Gill, had her "complete and utter support".

She called on the leader in the Assembly, Neil Hamilton, to "step up to the plate, but focus on Wales and the Assembly".

The two men have been embroiled in a feud which has seen Mr Gill quit the UKIP group of AMs in Cardiff Bay.

He now sits as an independent AM but is still the party's leader in Wales as well as a Member of the European Parliament.

Asked what she was going to do about the "civil war engulfing the party in Wales", Ms James said: "I'm going to ask Neil Hamilton to focus on the Welsh Assembly, on winning elections in Wales.

"I'm going to ask Nathan to continue doing the superb job he does in terms of representing Wales in the European Union."

'Huge legacy'

Asked if that meant the party had "two kings", she replied: "Nathan has my complete and utter support.

"He has a huge legacy in terms of his membership, a huge wealth of knowledge in terms of the issues facing Wales if Mrs May doesn't action the vote to leave the European Union."

She added: "Neil, I'm asking you, step up to the plate, but focus on Wales and the Assembly."

Ms James was elected as UKIP party leader on Friday, replacing Nigel Farage.

Mr Gill said in a speech to the UKIP conference on Saturday that members should now unite behind their new UK leader.

Responding on BBC Wales' Sunday Politics Wales programme, Mr Hamilton, who did not support Ms James for the leadership, said: "She obviously hasn't been watching the televised debates from the Assembly week in week out since we were elected on May 5.

"That's exactly what I've been doing in Cardiff four days a week is concentrating on my job as an AM in the Assembly, and as the leader of the group."

More on this story