Ed ~ A trusted source sent us the following report on Nathan Gill’s resignation from the Welsh Assembly, which we are happy to publish.
I’ve got to let you into a secret. The Cardiff Bay bubble is not very big. Tŷ Hywel, the building that houses the National Assembly for Wales Offices, is hardly the scale of Westminster or Brussels and, as a result, if you want to keep something quiet, you’ve got a job on your hands; because almost everybody knows everybody else and word gets around very, very quickly.
And so it came to pass that on the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me not three French hens, but rather a lame duck. I say that because the fact that Nathan Gill was going to resign his Assembly Seat was common knowledge. It was only a matter of when not if; and it would seem that Nathan chose the dead of the Christmas Recess to announce that he wanted to spend more time in the European Parliament to “give the majority of voters who backed “Leave” in Wales the representation that they deserve and need in Brussels”. I’ll come back to Nathan’s history of representing his constituents later.
To give some background into why this was such a non-event, one has to look back to the very first days of this Assembly term when the seven newly-elected UKIP AMs needed to choose a Group leader. By a majority of four votes to three, they elected Neil Hamilton who, to be fair, has done an excellent job of holding the First Minister to account at the dispatch box.
Nathan had, before he was elected, vowed to give up his seat in the European Parliament if he became an Assembly Member. After his election to the Assembly, he promptly backtracked on this pledge, amongst calls from UKIP both in Wales and nationally for him to give up a seat and not to “double-job”. By August 2016, just three months into the Assembly term, Nathan said he was leaving the UKIP Group to sit as an independent AM as, he claimed, “infighting” had become a “distraction” from its work. That was frankly rubbish. There was no conflict in the Group itself; there was just Gill and the rest of the Group who had rallied around Neil Hamilton. By that time, Nathan was hardly in Cardiff and had largely become an irrelevance.
The calls for Nathan to give up one of his two jobs were intensified after the election of Henry Bolton as our leader. When interviewed by ITV Wales (at 3.01 on this video) about the situation, Henry agreed it was “untidy”. Asked if there was a solution in the long term, Henry simply and very knowingly replied: “I would say short to medium term”. I have no doubt that Henry’s gentle influence has helped to sort this mess out.
Nathan’s voting record in the Assembly is truly appalling. Only a few weeks ago, there was a key vote on the bullying scandal currently gripping the Welsh Government. This would have forced an inquiry into the First Minister undertaken by a special Assembly Committee. This was not small beer, and the numbers were such that opposition parties could have forced the First Minister to vote to save his own skin and taken it to the wire with a casting vote from the Presiding Officer. We could have done, had Gill been there, but as usual, he wasn’t in his place. In fact, Gill hadn’t spoken in the Assembly Chamber since 18th July this year, and he was rarely seen in his office…until that changed just very recently.
So I turn to the longest resignation letter in history, which began in earnest several weeks ago when Nathan’s Assembly staff mysteriously disappeared overnight. To this day, we don’t know what’s happened to them, but they haven’t been seen on the Assembly estate for weeks. They’re actually still listed on the Assembly’s staff directory, but emails will have gone unanswered, as their IT kit was oddly handed back on the day they all vanished. We hope they’re OK.
Nathan himself was then conspicuous by his presence. Rather than sit in the Chamber, he was regularly seen pacing up and down corridors racking up his mobile phone bill. The rumour mill went into overdrive, and even a fortnight ago when directly challenged about a potential resignation on Twitter by Llanelli AM Lee Waters, Gill said: “Sorry Lee, you’re stuck with me”. This prompted an amusing intervention by the Plaid AM for North Wales, Llyr Gruffydd, who pointed out to BBC Wales that an Assembly staffer was using Gill’s personal parking space in the underground car park because they knew it would inevitably be empty – see this report (and note the date of publication!)
Either Nathan was providing an “alternative fact” when he said we were stuck with him, or there must have been a sudden change of heart. I say that because just as the Christmas Recess started, and most staffers had gone home to their families, I spotted Gill in his office handing over confidential waste sacks full of paperwork to the porters and walking out with an archive box, presumably full of personal effects and trinkets. Later that day, I also heard that he’d handed back his Assembly issue laptop and mobile phone, so surely by now the game was up, and an announcement was inevitable.
So, what now for the UKIP Group in the Assembly? Well, it’s not as if Nathan made an impact when he was in the Group, let alone as an independent. To that end, given that we’ve seen Mark Reckless defect from the periphery of the UKIP Group to the periphery of the Conservative Group, we’ll be back up to six Members. This will help with the workload of the individual AMs, but more importantly, it will also give the people of North Wales the second UKIP Member they voted for. It will also give the Group increased stability as we move forward into 2018 with renewed energy to take UKIP’s agenda to the Assembly and the people of Wales.