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Welsh Conservative response to UKIP warning

In response to a warning from one of the Welsh Conservatives' own councillors that the party risks losing support to UKIP unless it changes its approach to devolution, a spokesperson defended that approach, saying that 'we are doing Conservative things with devolution.'

Citing devo-scepticism as a reason for this result is an odd observation – given UKIP’s recent loud calls for far more Assembly powers, tax and criminal justice devolution to Wales, and a federal Britain.

The Welsh Conservatives are the only party in Wales consistently bringing forward innovative new policies – from reversing the decline of the high street, to boosting financial support for small businesses, to growing the nationalised Cardiff Airport and helping Welsh taxpayers get their money back.

We are doing Conservative things with devolution – that’s the way forward and that’s what will make Wales a global success.

With a record 14 Assembly Members we are the official opposition and we will continue holding a failing Labour government to account.

– Welsh Conservatives spokesperson

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UKIP warning for Welsh Tories

A senior Welsh Conservative is warning his party's leadership that traditional supporters are turning to UKIP because of concerns about the Assembly gaining further powers.

In an interview with ITV Cymru Wales, Newport Councillor David Fouweather says the Tories' poor result on Anglesey, in which they came fourth behind UKIP, should be a wake-up call. He says many Conservative supporters in Wales feel their concerns about devolution aren't recognised.

And he says the party leadership needs to 'return to Conservative values' or risk losing seats in the Assembly and European elections.

We have a problem with UKIP and it needs to be addressed. UKIP, I believe, are attracting our support. They're attracting those Conservatives who are anti-Assembly, who are anti-Europe and they're giving those people an opportunity to vote.

– Cllr David Fouweather, Conservative, Newport council
  1. Nick Powell

Plaid Cymru expected to hold Ynys Môn

The polls have closed in the Ynys Môn by-election and counting the votes is getting underway to decide who will be Anglesey's new AM. Sources in different political parties are all predicting that Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth will hold the seat.

Speculation centres on Plaid's majority -the party's defending the 10% lead of its former leader Ieuan Wyn Jones at the 2011 Assembly election- and on how well UKIP will perform. It's thought that the Conservatives, who came second two years ago, will be the main casualties of any UKIP advance.

That could put Labour, who need a win to secure a Senedd majority, in second place. The Lib Dems lost their deposit in 2011 and will be doing well to improve on that performance when the results are declared at about 2am. They can hope that Socialist Labour will finish behind them in last place.

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Twitter reaction to Richards' UKIP move

There's been a strong reaction online to the news that former Welsh Office minister Rod Richards has joined UKIP and is said to be seeking selection as one of the party's candidates in next year's European Parliament elections. Plaid Cymru's Dafydd Elis Thomas tweeted his response:

Matthew Evans, who leads the Conservative group on Newport council, said he was sorry to see Mr Richards finally sever links with his party.

But one UKIP tweeter was doubtful about the former minister's chances of winning the support of members of his new party.

  1. Adrian Masters

Resignation in UKIP selection row

A leading UKIP member in Wales has quit a top party job because of the inclusion of a former Conservative minister in the list of those hoping to become MEP for Wales.

I understand that Kevin Mahoney, a Vale of Glamorgan councillor, has resigned as Regional Organiser for Wales and withdrawn his own bid from the application process because of his objection to the inclusion of Rod Richards on lists for further consideration by members.

  1. Adrian Masters

Ex-Tory minister in UKIP Euro bid

Former Welsh Office Minister Rod Richards Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA

I understand that the former Welsh Office Minister and former leader of the Conservatives in the Assembly, Rod Richards, is now a member of UKIP and is hoping to become one of the party's candidates in next year's European elections. Mr Richards wouldn't confirm or deny the claims.

UKIP's current MEP, John Bufton, is standing down at the next election. The party's list of candidates to replace him won't be finalised until October following a full ballot of members but I understand that Rod Richards is amongst those who have applied to be considered.

I've also been told there's 'disquiet' amongst some UKIP members about the fact that Mr Richards has put his name forward for selection. One source told me they're 'fairly confident that our membership would not vote' for him if he's confirmed.

Leader said Assembly campaign was "embarrassing"

Nigel Farage made his comments about devolution last weekend, as UKIP prepared to select its candidate for the Ynys Môn by-election. He said there was an "old guard" in his party that still wanted to abolish the Assembly but he could see it gaining more powers, such as over policing.

I am relaxed about devolution. I am relaxed about a federal future for the UK. Remember, the last time we didn’t do well in the Assembly elections. We had very low grade literature. It wasn’t a well run campaign. I was pretty embarrassed about the whole thing, frankly. UKIP is getting better at what it does.

– UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP
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