Neil Hamilton ousts Nathan Gill to become leader of Ukip in Welsh Assembly


Neil Hamilton has been elected as Ukip's new leader in the Welsh Assembly.

The former Conservative MP and one-time TV personality re-ignited his political career last week after winning a regional seat for the Mid and West Wales region in the Senedd.

And just five days after being elected he has successfully challenged Nathan Gill for the leadership post.

The party's seven AMs met on Tuesday in the Senedd to decide who should lead them - with Mr Hamilton reportedly winning by four votes to three.

Ahead of the result, he told the BBC's Daily Politics show that he did not expect the contest between him and Mr Gill to cause any problems for his party.

Former Tory MP Mr Hamilton, who was thrown out by voters in 1997 after becoming embroiled in the cash-for-questions controversy, said: "It's not a case of mounting a challenge against Nathan.

"We haven't had any assembly members in the past.

"We have to meet together, form a group and elect a leader of it."

Mr Hamilton was Conservative MP for Tatton from 1983 to 1997, but his career as a Tory minister was ended by the cash-for-questions affair.

He and his wife Christine later reinvented themselves as TV personalities, appearing on a variety of shows including Have I Got News For You, I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! and Celebrity MasterChef.

However, Mr Hamilton launched a political comeback with Ukip - which even raised eyebrows in Nigel Farage's party. 

Mr Gill told an election debate in April that he probably would not have chosen Mr Hamilton as a Ukip candidate.

Mr Hamilton's wife Christine then hit back, branding the Mr Gill a "third-rate general".

Party officials say the decision to appoint Mr Hamilton as Assembly leader would not affect Mr Gill's separate position as leader of Ukip in Wales.

Ukip, which was originally against Welsh devolution until a recent policy U-turn, will be taking its place in the Assembly's Siambr for the first time on Wednesday. 

However, its presence has not been met with enthusiasm from its political rivals.

Labour AM Mark Drakeford said: "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."