THE new leader of the UKIP’s group in the Welsh Assembly has been confirmed as Neil Hamilton after the ex-conservative MP challenged Nathan Gill for the leadership.
Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP appointed the original position to Mr Gill, but following the party’s AM’s meeting on Tuesday May 10 in the Senedd, a decision as to who should lead the Welsh faction was decided.
Mr Gill explained that the defeat was “not the nicest feeling in the world.”
It is understood that Mr Gill had the vote of three members of his team whereas Hamilton had four, pipping him to the post. Before the meeting both sides were confident they had the numbers to win.
In an interview directly after the meeting, Mr Hamilton confirmed his win.
“We’ve achieved an outcome by consensus,” he said.
“We decided to put all past differences behind us and forget the lead up to the election campaign, where there was a lot of personal animosity created.
“I’ve been chosen to do a specific job to be leader of the UKIP AMs within the assembly.
“I’ve got great deal of parliamentary experience. I’ve been a government minister.
“I’m going to make use of that experience within the group to give UKIP the maximum amount of impact during the course of the next five years.”
Mr Hamilton will be happy to accept his new position as leader of UKIP in the assembly group as it comes with a salary of £84,000. This is broken down to a basic salary of £64,000, plus an additional sum for being the leader of an opposition group.
The additional payments include £13,000 plus £1,000 for every member – UKIP have seven assembly members, giving a total of £20,000 in additional payments.
Last month, in April, Mrs Christine Hamilton in defence of her husband called the UKIP Wales leader a “third rate general,” after Mr Gill told an election debate that Mr Hamilton was not the right choice to lead UKIP in Wales.
Mr Hamilton had earlier been quoted as saying on the BBC’s Daily Politics show: “UKIP wouldn’t be UKIP if there weren’t internal challenges.
“It’s not a case of mounting a challenge against Nathan Gill. We haven’t had any assembly members in the past.
“We have to meet together, form a group and elect a leader of it.”
Following the May 5 assembly election UKIP won its first ever seats, a total of seven.
Labour health minister AM Mark Drakeford, said in the previous assembly: “I’ve heard UKIP say that the assembly won’t be the same – it certainly won’t be.
“Having to deal with them is not something I will look forward to.”