Wales Election 2016

Welsh election: Ask the Leader - UKIP

Nathan Gill and Bethan Rhys Roberts
Image caption Nathan Gill with presenter Bethan Rhys Roberts

UKIP Wales leader Nathan Gill faced questions from an audience in Swansea in the second of a daily series of live BBC TV election specials.

Who is he?

Nathan Gill was a Conservative until 2004 when he was inspired by Nigel Farage's performance on Question Time to vote UKIP at that year's European election, joining the party a year later.

He was soon on the campaign trail - his mother was UKIP candidate in the 2005 general election for Ynys Mon, where the family live.

Mr Gill was elected as an MEP in 2014 after UKIP finished a close second in Wales behind Labour.

A fair bit of controversy has followed - he denied employing migrant workers at a care home he ran which was at odds with UKIP policy.

In the 2015 general election campaign Mr Gill was criticised for saying man was not responsible for climate change.

And in the run-up to the Welsh Assembly election he has faced a petition calling for his resignation as UKIP Wales leader amid a row over candidate selection.

Despite controversy, opinion polls have suggested UKIP could have a significant presence in the Welsh Assembly after the election due to the proportional nature of the regional votes.

Question 1: Did political correctness kill the early debates on immigration?

Answer: Mr Gill said it did, and denied UKIP was a racist party, claiming its immigration policy was fairer than other parties, because it did not discriminate in favour of EU member states. He claimed immigration into Wales had been "too much, too fast", and said it was high in people's minds even at the assembly election. Mr Gill said people had a right to be concerned if immigration meant they were unable to get housing or a job. He said UKIP was calling for an Australian-style points-based system to allow skilled workers into Britain.

Question 2: I'm a retired teacher and think it's a myth that selection produces better results for all children. So why do you want to bring back grammar schools?

Answer: Mr Gill said social mobility had gone backwards over the last 30 years. He argued that grammar schools would boost opportunities for more academic children, while those looking for more vocational qualifications should also be supported. "One size doesn't fit all," he insisted.

Question 3: What are you doing to help protect our environment and society from the effects of climate change?

Answer: Mr Gill said he was "very, very sceptical" that mankind has an effect on the climate, saying spending money to tackle it was wasted. He pointed out that scientists supporting the idea that humans were the dominant cause were paid by the UN to do the research. "We've got computers, we've got the internet - do your own research," he told the audience.

Question 4: Do you agree that the M4 relief road is even more vital now as the materials used to build it could bring much needed work to the steel industry in Wales?

Answer: Mr Gill said he would "break EU law" to ensure that everything built in Wales was built with Welsh steel. He said he would cut business rates to zero, and would "take down the Senedd's EU flag" in order to do it. Mr Gill said he questioned the point of intervening in the steel crisis if the UK could not affect the cheap Chinese steel "dumped on us".

Question 5: Have the UKIP 'stars of the party' been forced on us in Wales in the regional list system?

Answer: Mr Gill said he would "probably not" have allowed people to "come in over our hard working Welsh membership", but suggested his power over the choice of candidates was limited. But he said figures such as former MPs Mark Reckless and Neil Hamilton were assets to the party who offered great experience.

Still to come

Wednesday 13 April - Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams in Aberystwyth

Thursday 14 April - Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood in Aberystwyth

Friday 15 April - Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones in Llangollen

Shown previously

Monday 11 April - Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies in Swansea

Ask the Leader can be seen on BBC One Wales at 19:00 BST each day and on the BBC iPlayer.

You can also follow the programmes via social media - @walespolitics

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