Wales

Nigel Farage: UKIP emerging in Wales as main opposition

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Media captionNigel Farage isn't convinced there's an appetite in Wales for tax-raising powers

The leader of UKIP says his party is emerging as the main opposition to Labour in Wales.

Speaking ahead of the party's annual conference in Doncaster, Nigel Farage said UKIP is beginning to fill a hole left by the Conservatives in Wales.

He also said Wales gets "a rotten deal" in funding from the UK government.

A ICM/BBC poll this week suggests UKIP support in Wales has doubled from 7% to 14%.

But those gains were still unlikely to result in the party winning a Welsh seat in next year's General Election, according to some political experts.

However UKIP will look to the European elections in May, when Labour narrowly topped the poll in Wales on 28.7% of the vote only just ahead of UKIP who won 28.1% of the vote.

The party topped the poll in Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham and returned Nathan Gill to Brussels as one the four Welsh MEPs in the European Parliament.

Image caption UKIP saw Nathan Gill returned as a Euro MEP in the summer in Wales - where the party was neck and neck with Labour

"Politics is changing very, very quickly - just look at the surge for a Yes vote in Scotland over the past few months," Mr Farage told BBC Wales.

"I think also in Wales if people look at the education system and look at the health service and they ask themselves why are we getting the worst deal out of anybody in the whole of the UK.

"So it's a question of who can provide opposition to the Labour Party and historically I think that has been the Conservative Party in Wales but I think some of the evidence is that we are beginning to fill that hole.

On devolution, the UKIP leader said there needed to be a new UK constitutional settlement - but said he was not convinced Wales wanted tax-raising powers.

He added: "I think the devolution genie is out of the bottle - and I think in the end we are all going to have to get used to the fact that this is the way that the UK is going to run."

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