Wales politics

UKIP AM says Gill two-jobs issue 'less important now'

Dave Rowlands
Image caption David Rowlands said he had been "quite strong" with Nathan Gill over leaving an empty chair in the Senedd

The controversy over ex-UKIP Wales leader Nathan Gill staying on as both MEP and AM is not as important now as it was before, a party AM has said.

David Rowlands said he would be happy to see Mr Gill remain as an MEP if the rest of the party group agreed.

Mr Rowlands had previously said party members were unhappy about the so-called "double-jobbing" row.

His comments came after UKIP leader Paul Nuttall visited the assembly on Thursday.

Mr Gill has faced calls from the UKIP assembly group and its leader, Neil Hamilton, to step down from one of the two roles since he was elected to the assembly last May.

The UKIP Wales MEP later left the party group in the assembly, and in September it was announced he was no longer leader of the party in Wales.

A planned vote on whether Mr Gill should hold on to both jobs has not taken place.

Image caption Nathan Gill is an independent AM but a UKIP MEP

Mr Rowlands had appeared alongside Mr Hamilton at a press conference in August when the group leader called for Mr Gill to step aside from the assembly if he wanted to keep his EU job.

But Mr Rowlands, UKIP AM for South Wales East, said: "The general consensus now is that because of the situation in Europe, and there's a very limited period of time for him to stand down as an MEP, it isn't as important a matter now as it might have been if we were carrying on in the EU.

"It appears that he is certainly present in the assembly more often now, concentrating on assembly affairs more than probably previously."

'Fairly easy'

Mr Rowlands said that he would be happy with Mr Gill remaining an MEP "if everyone else in the group agreed".

"I have been fairly easy on most of it," Mr Rowlands said. "Except that obviously in the past I have been quite strong with Nathan with the fact that we had an empty chair [in the Senedd]."

He said that situation had improved.

But on the matter of a return to the assembly group for Mr Gill, Mr Rowlands said it was "down to Mr Gill to make approaches now" if "he feels that the situation has changed to the extent that he would like to come back to the group in the Senedd".

Mr Rowlands said UKIP leader Paul Nuttall had been in the assembly on Thursday to "have a chat to all of us". He said that Mr Gill had come up in the discussions he had with Mr Nuttall.

Mr Nuttall had announced in December that negotiations were being held to resolve the row between Mr Gill and Mr Hamilton over double-jobbing, promising a decision "before Christmas".

He had said a planned ballot of party members in Wales on the 'double-jobbing' issue would not "necessarily" take place.

But a UKIP spokesman had said on Wednesday: "Nothing has been decided yet and nothing is off the table."

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