Wales politics

UKIP's Nathan Gill MEP quit calls made 'out of malice'

Nathan Gill

UKIP Wales leader Nathan Gill will not stand down from his MEP role, saying those making the call are doing it out of "malice".

In a letter leaked to BBC Wales, UKIP chairman Steve Crowther asked Mr Gill to honour a commitment to stand down as an MEP now he is an AM for North Wales.

Mr Gill described the situation as "a proxy war" between the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) and loyalists of former leader Nigel Farage.

He said he earns less as an AM and MEP.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement programme, Mr Gill said he does not take home two pay packets.

"My AM salary is deducted from my MEP salary and after taxation, my take-home pay is less than before," he said.

But he said he would not stand down from the MEP role because there is nobody to replace him - the second person on UKIP's Welsh MEP list has left the party while the third and fourth are now AMs themselves.

"They are not going to give up a Welsh Assembly job for a two year job [in Brussels]," he said.

"There would be a by-election and we would probably lose.

"More than half of the population of Wales wanted us to leave the EU.

"I am the only Welsh MEP who wants us to leave the EU. More than ever, there is a responsibility to make sure Article 50 [official notice of the UK's decision to leave the EU] is invoked and reported back to the people of Wales."

"Damaging"

In the letter, sent on 6 July, Mr Crowther said the NEC resolved that MEPs should not "double job" as AMs and it had received assurances from Mr Gill this would not be done.

But Mr Gill said: "It is part of a proxy war between the NEC and loyalists of Nigel Farage.

"It was an act of malice that the letter was leaked for political reasons, a way of damaging the legacy of Nigel Farage and a way of damaging me."

He vowed to keep the MEP role saying it was "just the odd person in my party" who wants him to step down.

Mr Gill will act as running mate to English MEP Steven Woolfe, who is bidding to replace Mr Farage as party leader.

He described it as "our moment" and said UKIP could make "huge gains" in the coming years, with more people turning to the party.

The North Wales AM also said the NEC should be replaced by a different body - something that is in the manifestos of candidates vying to replace Mr Farage.

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