UKIP an essential voice in Wales, says Neil Hamilton

media captionNeil Hamilton is optimistic over UKIP's future in Wales

UKIP has become an "essential voice" in Welsh politics, the party's leader in the assembly has insisted.

Neil Hamilton said that with Brexit achieved, UKIP's aim now was to inform the Welsh electorate of its domestic policies.

And he denied the party had outlived its purpose, following the vote to leave the European Union.

His comments come despite UKIPs loss in Stoke-on-Trent Central's by-election on Friday.

The party had hoped to capitalise on voters' leanings towards Brexit - the area voted strongly to leave the EU in June - but Labour held its seat.

UKIP was founded in 1991 with the sole aim of getting the UK out of the EU.

'Serious work'

But Mr Hamilton defended the role of his party post-Brexit while speaking to Sunday Politics Wales.

"In the last 20 years, UKIP has become an essential, particularly in Wales, part of the domestic political scene and we now have to refocus our attention upon other issues," he said.

"We have serious work now in order to show people we do have other policies which can benefit them in their daily lives."

With six assembly members, UKIP are hoping to establish a further foot-hold in Wales in the up-coming local elections.

"Carywn Jones doesn't hold a majority in the assembly, he can only do so with the combination of other parties," Mr Hamilton said.

"We are an important voice in Wales, we got the best part of 15% of the vote in the assembly election last year and all the current opinion polls show that we would actually do better in Wales today than we did last May."

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