Wales politics

UKIP Welsh conference: 'Massive assault' on assembly

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Media captionNaigel Farage said UKIP should have genuine belief it can be the opposition in Cardiff Bay

UKIP leader Nigel Farage is targeting seven or eight Welsh seats at the general election and plans a "massive assault" on the assembly elections.

Speaking at UKIP's first Welsh conference on Saturday he said the party should have genuine belief it can be the opposition in Cardiff Bay.

He also named Welsh MEP Nathan Gill as the party's Welsh leader and announced two defectors to UKIP.

About 50 protestors gathered outside the conference at Margam Park.

UKIP claims it is now the main challenger to Labour in Wales and has its rivals "on the run".

It has opened campaign offices in Merthyr and Penarth, and is due to open another in Shotton, Flintshire, next week.

The party came within 4,500 votes of beating Labour into first place in the European elections in Wales in May.

Welsh Labour has launched an advertising campaign attacking Mr Farage as a "Thatcherite".

But during his speech to the conference, Mr Farage responded to Labour supporters saying UKIP is not welcome in Wales by saying: "It's a bit late mate, We're already here!"

He said coming close to Labour in the European elections "was simply the most stunning result of the night".

Image caption Protestors gather outside the party conference in Margam Park, Port Talbot

He added: "Our progress electorally and organisationally in Wales is fantastic. We've trebled our membership here."

On devolution Mr Farage took another swipe at the Labour-led Welsh government.

"It isn't devolution that's failing Wales, it's the administration in Cardiff," Mr Farage said.

Turning his attention to next year's general election, he said targeting seven or eight seats and making Mr Gill leader in Wales "sends a signal we're taking Welsh politics seriously".

And on the assembly elections, he added: "We're planning a massive assault on the Welsh assembly elections in 2016.

"We should go into those elections with a genuine belief we can be the opposition party in Cardiff Bay."

Former Newport Conservative councillor William Routley and former Cardiff Plaid Cymru councillor Mohammad Sarul Islam have defected to UKIP.

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson said its former member had not been an active member "for some years".

Hear Nigel Farage's interview on BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement at 08:00 GMT or see it on BBC One Wales' Sunday Politics Wales at 11:00 GMT on Sunday 7 December.

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