The recently announced election for group leader in the Welsh Assembly has offered members in Wales their first opportunity to directly influence who leads your party in the Assembly.
When the UK withdraws its MEP’s from the European Parliament, we will lose the vast majority of our highest profile elected representatives, making Wales the most important part of the country for UKIP. It is Wales that will be required to lead the way in ensuring that we can give people confidence in our ability to effect change and to cement UKIP as a permanent force in Welsh politics. I am standing in this election to give UKIP Wales a fresh start to achieve these aims.
Being an elected Assembly Member means far more than delivering speeches in the Assembly. It is a role that requires you to be constantly active in your community, working to create a strong base that the party can rely on when it comes to fighting elections. I have worked tirelessly over the past few years to maintain one of the most active and engaged branches in Wales, where membership is continuously rising and members feel an active sense that they are involved in what we pursue in the Assembly.
Being an AM also requires you to deal with large amounts of casework, which is a vital tool in proving to our communities that UKIP is serious about influencing the direction of our country. The hard slog of constituency casework is one of our best tools for winning UKIP support, as we prove to constituents that we can be counted on to look out for their interests when the other parties fail. My record on this is second to none.
Just one example of this is Paul Davies, a bronze medal Paralympian who, after the tragic loss of his wife and primary carer, feared for the future of his Olympic dream. Thanks to me and my team, he is now in training for the upcoming Tokyo Paralympic games. People don’t forget these stories, not least the families and friends involved, who now look upon UKIP in a much better light and will no doubt spread the word of the great work we’ve done. The media has always been against us, which is why casework is so hugely important – it gives us the best opportunity to directly deal with our communities and bypass the biased media, as well as forcing that media to write something positive about us, which they no doubt do with gritted teeth.
Since winning the support of a majority of our AM’s to be group leader, I have already made some progress towards achieving change. I have already won concessions from the Welsh Government in the short time I’ve had as group leader and will continue to win more should you decide to elect me.
I have also been working extremely hard to ensure that Welsh members have a real and tangible voice in the running of our party. I have pledged to support the grassroots creation of a Wales Committee. The purpose will be to coordinate between branches, organise events and fundraising and ensure that under my leadership, members in Wales will have a crucial role in the running of their party.
However, it is not merely party management that I feel needs more membership involvement, it’s policy as well. This is why I have given my full support to the Grassroots policy network in Wales, where 3 members from each region will be elected and will be responsible for working with the group leader, and members, to produce the policies that we pursue in the Assembly. UKIP has always prided itself on being a democratic party, and should I win your vote, I aim to extend this further and to ensure that UKIP Wales is one of the most democratic movements in the country, where members make a lasting and valuable contribution to the party’s policies.
There is no doubt that members are worried about the future of Brexit, with Theresa May backsliding on her commitment to a clean break from the European Union. If we are to harness the support we get from her failures, we must prove that we can work in the Assembly to counter the Welsh Government’s attempts, supported by Plaid Cymru, to destroy Brexit from within the Assembly and undermine our negotiating position. But in order to do that, we must show we are credible enough to win an election and govern effectively. I stand before you as someone who has the integrity and willpower to work tirelessly to achieve this.
It is highly unlikely that UKIP will win the next Assembly election, but it is crucial that we win enough seats to control the debate in Wales. As the only party in Wales that supports the Welsh decision to leave the EU, we must show the people of Wales that we are able to pursue their wishes on Brexit, while also having the professionalism and credibility to be just as effective on the bread-and-butter issues that the Assembly deals with daily.
I hope I can count on your support in the upcoming vote to give UKIP Wales a fresh start, to truly democratise party management and policymaking and to stabilise what has admittedly been a somewhat rocky ship. With your support in the upcoming vote, we can turn the ship around and work to cement our party as the voice of the Welsh people. Thank you.