Wales Election 2016

UKIP's Hamilton not worried by Gill's comments

Neil Hamilton and Nathan Gill
Image caption Neil Hamilton and Nathan Gill

One of UKIP's most high-profile assembly election candidates has sought to calm tensions with the party's leader in Wales Nathan Gill.

Ex-Tory MP Neil Hamilton said he was not worried that Mr Gill said he would not have chosen him as a candidate.

Mr Hamilton was picked after a ballot of party members in Wales.

There were accusations his selection, and that of fellow ex-Tory MP Mark Reckless, as UKIP candidates in Wales was imposed by the party centrally.

On Wednesday Mr Hamilton's wife Christine tweeted: "Only a 3rd rate General would diss his crack troops on the eve of battle."

She was responding to Mr Gill saying on BBC Wales' Ask the Leader programme the previous night: "Would I have allowed people to come in over our hardworking Welsh membership?

"Probably not... but it wasn't my decision, the members have given us these candidates and therefore I back them."

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Media captionNeil Hamilton: 'I've had to get on with people who didn't like me'

Speaking to BBC Wales on Thursday, Mr Hamilton said: "Nathan took one view, the members in Wales overwhelmingly took a different view.

"I've had to get on in politics over many, many years with people who don't like me and vice versa.

"But I'm an easy going sort of chap, I've been around a long time and I take all these things in my stride."

Asked if Mr Gill's comments would make it difficult to work with him if they were both elected to the assembly in May, Mr Hamilton said: "I was a minister in John Major's government, which tore itself apart on European issues, like the Maastricht Treaty and so on.

"I can tell you that the internal feuds in UKIP are as nothing compared with what they were then...it's just a squall rather than a storm, and it will be quickly forgotten."

However, Mr Hamilton refused to rule out standing against Mr Gill if a leadership contest arose after 5 May, but also insisted he would serve under Mr Gill if he was elected.

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