Wales politics

UKIP ballot on Gill will take place, Neil Hamilton says

Neil Hamilton
Image caption Neil Hamilton said the matter of a ballot on Nathan Gill's two jobs is "unfinished business"

A ballot of UKIP Wales members on whether Nathan Gill should be allowed to continue in his two elected roles "is going to take place", UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton has said.

Nathan Gill serves as a UKIP MEP and - after leaving the party group in the summer - as an independent AM.

UKIP's ruling body had threatened to end his party membership if he did not step down from one of the roles.

But in August it decided to put the matter to the membership in Wales.

Meanwhile the Electoral Commission has opened an investigation into whether UKIP took "impermissible donations" from the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE), a European political party that is dominated by UKIP MEPs.

A European Parliament probe alleged on Monday that funds for ADDE had wrongly been spent "for the benefit of UKIP". ADDE has been ordered to repay €172,655 (£147,387).

A leaked audit report alleged ADDE spent EU cash on opinion polling for the 2016 assembly election, as well as polls in two Welsh constituencies.

A UKIP spokesman said: "We are confident we will be found to be in the clear."

Image caption Nathan Gill had been threatened with expulsion for refusing to give up one of his two roles

On the matter of Mr Gill, UKIP's national executive committee (NEC) decided in August that party members should vote on whether he could continue in his two roles.

Mr Gill had backtracked on a promise to quit as an MEP if elected as an AM, claiming he did not want to force a by-election.

Asked on BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme about the delay, Mr Hamilton said a series of national leadership elections had taken priority.

The AM for Mid and West Wales said: "I think this is unfinished business to which we will return.

"UKIP doesn't have a very large core of administration and one can only have so many national referenda at any one time.

"But I believe that the issue came up at the last National Executive Committee meeting last week or the week before and that plans are in place to have a national ballot.

"No date has yet been fixed for that but it is going to take place," he added.

Earlier in November one of UKIP's leadership contenders, Paul Nuttall, said there was nothing a new leader would be able to do to stop a ballot on whether Mr Gill should continue to double job.

'Useful ambassador'

On the suggestion by US President-elect Donald Trump that UKIP interim leader Nigel Farage would do a "great job" as British ambassador to the US, Mr Hamilton said his party colleague could "be a very useful ambassador".

Mr Hamilton said: "I think we've got this great relationship with Donald Trump and we ought to be imaginative and use it. We shouldn't allow minor political differences to get in the way.

"Nigel, I think, could be a very useful ambassador of a rather different kind from the normal Foreign Office ambassador and I think it's foolish to turn down this opportunity.

"I think we've got start thinking outside the box here. America appoints political ambassadors to the big ambassadorships throughout the world. We could do the same thing in Washington."

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