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  1. ITV Report

Mandy Jones suspended from UKIP following criticism of Wales' party leader Neil Hamilton

Mandy Jones has been suspended for comments she made about UKIP's party leader in Wales, Neil Hamilton.

The North Wales assembly member is member of the UKIP party but sits as an independent in the Assembly.

Last week, she objected to Mr Hamilton being appointed to the Assembly Commission which is responsible for AMs' staff because he had not supported a policy on dignity and respect in the Assembly.

There are many reasons why I would object to Neil Hamilton becoming a Commissioner. However, the reason I wish to put on record is that, on 16 May, Neil Hamilton abstained on the vote in support of the emerging dignity and respect policy. The main crux of his argument appeared to be that it should only apply part of the time. Becoming an Assembly Member is an honour, and it should be respected as such. It is not a part-time job. The Nolan principles and the code of conduct, which we all promised to abide by when we were sworn in, do not get shrugged off like a wet coat when they become too uncomfortable. I do not see how his position is compatible with the role of Assembly Commissioner.

– Mandy Jones AM
Credit: PA Images

In response to the objection, Neil Hamilton defended his actions.

We disagree honourably amongst each other in a democratic Assembly, and we're entitled to take different views on the desirability of proposed courses of action. That doesn't mean that any of us condones the kind of conduct, behaviour or words that are reprehensible or opprobrious and are likely to cause egregious offence, and still less those that are racist or whatever.

– Neil Hamilton AM, Leader of UKIP in Wales

The Party Secretary has the right to suspend or expel members who clearly bring the Party into disrepute by association with or membership of an organisation, membership of which the NEC has declared to be incompatible with membership of the Party or establish a group in opposition to an official UKIP group.

– UKIP Party Secretary

In an unprecedented move, assembly members then voted to reject Neil Hamilton as UKIP's nomination to the Assembly Commission.

The party's AMs will now have to decide whether to try again or put forward a different name.