David Davis’ resignation on Sunday, closely followed by Boris Johnson the next day, has plunged the Tory Government into crisis. Many leading Tory Brexiteers now seriously question whether Theresa May can lead the UK out of the European Union on the terms on which people voted in 2016.
Gerard Batten’s letter to Downing Street, calling for the Prime Minister to resign, perfectly summarised the position in which we now find ourselves. In my previous piece for UKIP Daily, I alluded to the Government’s shambolic attempt to negotiate Brexit, which has resulted in nothing short of a gross betrayal of the British people. The events of this week show a divided administration in Westminster and prove that Remainer May has overstepped the mark – she must now step aside and resign.
While we despair over the Government’s failure to deliver the Brexit we voted for, it is however, day by day, breathing life back into UKIP. The Conservative’s anti-EU mask has slipped. It is now UKIP’s duty to hold back the tide of sabotage unleashed by Remainers. Our voters, past and present, now realise there is only one party which champions a full and proper Brexit and that party is UKIP.
In Wales, all the major parties are in the midst of a leadership election. I have welcomed the balloting of UKIP members for our own leadership contest to decide who will lead UKIP’s five members in the National Assembly. In the last two years, UKIP has suffered a crippling period of turbulence. Now that the party in the rest of the UK has stabilised and continues to flourish under Gerard’s leadership, I firmly believe that the leadership election in Wales is an opportunity to reinvigorate the party this side of the border. Some UKIP members, outside Wales, might question the relevance of UKIP’s actions in the Assembly. I believe it to be of huge importance. Our MEPs will return from Brussels next year and UKIP’s elected representatives in London and Wales will become the shop window for the party.
Leading the UKIP Group in the Assembly offers the opportunity directly to hold the Labour-led Welsh Government to account. Unlike Westminster, there are precious few Brexit allies in the Welsh Assembly. Labour, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and the overwhelming majority of Conservative AMs still suffer from Brexit-denial, and, given the chance, will seek to undermine the 17.4 million of people who voted leave.
While the Conservatives remain bitterly divided on Brexit, UKIP must harness the electoral wind that now blows in our favour. Only with the People’s Army on the march can we hold the Government to ransom on Brexit. This week, I telephoned into Jacob Rees-Mogg’s live LBC show, where I said that, in order for Brexit to be defended, people must join UKIP. Disappointingly, yet predictably, he dismissed our party as “Who-kip”. That kind of petty patronising attitude will change.
This level of complacency reminded me of the attitude towards UKIP between 2010 and 2016. They ignored us, then laughed at us, and then within a few short years, we won the referendum. We must have a strong, united and well-led party to ensure that we have the last laugh. Nationally, Gerard Batten has proven he has the essential skills and determination to lead UKIP – in Wales we must have the same. Within the Assembly, it is essential we have a leader who has the ability to hold the cosy Cardiff Bay consensus to account.
I am Welsh born, bred and educated and have dedicated my entire adult life to fighting for an independent Britain. Having been born in Fleur-de-lis, Monmouthshire, I moved with my parents to Ammanford where, at the local Grammar School, I joined the Anti-Common Market League in 1967. So, last year, I celebrated 50 years fighting for our independence.
I have fought the encroaching influence of the EU through university in Aberystwyth and Cambridge, as an MP, a Government Minister and on the European Council of Ministers.
In 2002, Nigel Farage invited me to join UKIP, where I have continued the fight, directing our national campaign in the successful 2014 European Elections. I have served on the NEC, as Deputy Chairman and as Leader of UKIP Wales.
Wales is the poorest of the home nations – last in the UK table of incomes. In education, Wales is bottom of the class in reading, maths and science. What is the Welsh Government’s response? More politicians. Since when has the answer to any question been ‘more politicians’? Under my leadership, UKIP Wales has rejected plans to expand the National Assembly from 60 to 90 members, strongly opposing more “jobs for the boys”.
Labour’s answer to Wales’ plummeting marks at school was a Brexit consultation for children as young as 5 – a clear attempt to politicise our education system. The Welsh Baccalaureate quite openly promotes multiculturalism and “cultural identity”. It does not accommodate alternative views against the Lab/Con/Lib/Plaid politically correct agenda. We need education, not indoctrination.
The tentacles of the Welsh Nanny State are tightening, aided by the UK Government (eg the Conservative’s Sugar Tax) and propped up by the Welsh Assembly’s Lab/Con/Lib/Plaid Future Generations Wales Act. Again, UKIP were the only party in the Assembly to oppose the Welsh Government’s minimum unit pricing of alcohol. It will not have the desired effect of reducing problem drinking but instead mean poorer people pay more for their tipple of choice.
Finally, the Labour Party, aided and abetted by their fellow-travellers Plaid Cymru, want to introduce a smacking ban. Not satisfied with their efforts to indoctrinate children in our schools, they now seek directly to influence their upbringing by telling parents what to do. UKIP Wales has been clear – parents know best – not government!
The Left call Wales a “nation of sanctuary” for refugees but it is certainly not a sanctuary for hard working men and women, who work long hours for low wages. At every opportunity the liberal elites seek to control and influence. UKIP is the only voice against this. It is therefore absolutely crucial that our five Assembly Members in Cardiff Bay are led by someone who is capable and combative, with the experience and skills to challenge Welsh Labour in the Assembly.
Members in Wales will shortly be receiving ballot papers and a manifesto from each candidate. I stand on my record of service to the cause and to the Party and ask those members to support my bid to be Leader of the Assembly Group, so I can continue to lead our fight for Brexit, defend free speech and oppose the Establishment’s Nanny State.
We must never forget that UKIP is the authentic voice of the British people. At this crucial time, we must unite as a party and provide them with that voice.