By Megan Thomas
On the 27th December Nathan Gill, AM for the regional constituency North Wales, resigned from his post.In a statement released on Twitter Gill has said:
“It’s with great sadness and relief that I am
resigning as AM for North Wales and Mandy Jones will take my place.”
Nathan Gill has proved a controversial figure within the Welsh Assembly. In August 2016 it was announced that Gill had left the UKIP assembly group, citing “infighting” and tensions between its members as “distracting”. He’d already been heavily criticised for backing down to his promise to choose between his position as an AM and his position as an MEP. Five members of the UKIP group called for him to resign his Assembly position.
Gill’s poor attendance record has been heavily criticised. After he left the assembly UKIP group, Welsh UKIP leader Neil Hamilton has stated that Gill’s departure “won’t make much difference”, as they “don’t see him much in the Assembly”. More recently, Plaid Cymru AM Llyr Gruffydd has described his lack of attendance as a “betrayal”. Gruffydd asked for the presiding officer to review Gill’s attendance record claiming that Gill was “clearly unable to fulfil his duties”.
Nathan Gill has announced that his decision was motivated by his desire to concentrate on his duties as a UKIP MEP. Stating on Facebook that:
“With the country now in the process of leaving the European Union, it is clear that the most pressing issue facing Wales is Brexit”
“I feel it is right that I concentrate on serving my term as an MEP and do my bit in helping to get the best deal for the country. As the only Eurosceptic MP in Wales, I have a duty to give the majority of voters who backed ‘Leave’ in Wales the representation that they deserve and need in Brussels.”
Finally Gill pledged to maintain an “open door” to all Welsh politicians wishing to consult him as they move into the “next critical stage of negotiations.”
Gill has now been replaced by UKIP’s Mandy Jones, the next candidate on the UKIP list. Jones has said that she shall be prioritising “supporting local businesses in delivering good jobs and campaigning for better local health and transport services in north Wales.”
Welsh UKIP leader Neil Hamilton has given his support to Jones, who now raises UKIP’s total seat count in the Assembly to 6. Hamilton has said that.
“We are looking forward to 2018, where we will be even more active and vocal, as we continue to stand up for the people of Wales against the cosy Cardiff Bay consensus”
Whatever happens, this is certainly going to be an interesting period in the history of Welsh politics.