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Plaid Cymru expected to hold Ynys Môn

by Nick Powell

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:

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@adrianmasters84 good to see my old political friend wanting to appear in his true colours!

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

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Sorry to hear Rod Richards has joined #UKIP , he might have faults, but is extremely talented, a conviction politician, #sadtoseehimleave

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

Resignation in UKIP selection row

by Adrian Masters

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I understand that Kevin Mahoney, a Vale of Glamorgan councillor, has resigned as Regional Organiser for Wales and withdrawn his own bid from the application process because of his objection to the inclusion of Rod Richards on lists for further consideration by members.

Ex-Tory minister in UKIP Euro bid

by Adrian Masters
Former Welsh Office Minister Rod Richards
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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We should stay opposed to the Assembly says UKIP's Welsh MEP

UKIP MEP for Wales, John Bufton, has revealed that he completely disagrees with his leader, Nigel Farage, that the party should accept that National Assembly for Wales is here to stay. He was asked to clarify his postion on tonight's Sharp End on ITV Cymru Wales.

Nigel's made some comments regarding that. I think he said that he's comfortable with devolution. I'm certainly not.

I think he talks of the old school. Well, I'm part of the old school. I've been opposed to the Assembly from its inception and remain so.

If the party changes its policy, which it might do, I think it's a big big mistake. Basically there would be no difference between us and the Conservatives.

So if we lose that, our main plank [in Assembly elections], that we want to abolish it; well, then there's an opening ultimately for another party perhaps.

– UKIP MEP for Wales John Bufton

Mr Bufton has announced that he will not seek re-election next year, for personal reasons.

'I've always seen UKIP as a threat' - Welsh Tory leader

Opposition leader Andrew RT Davies says he's 'always taken UKIP as a threat' and treated it as seriously as any other political competitor. He was speaking after the Welsh Conservatives ended up behind UKIP in last week's Anglesey council election.

UKIP's success in council elections in England last week has sparked intense debate within the Tory party with some amongst the leadership accused of not taking the UKIP challenge seriously.

Andrew RT Davies said he always had done so, adding that 'any party ... if they're on the ballot paper has the potential to take the vote from you. I take every candidate seriously.' Two successive ITV Wales polls have suggested UKIP could make gains from the Welsh Conservatives in Assembly votes.

Prime Minister's Europe speech 'irrelevant' - UKIP

Ahead of the Prime Minister's big speech on Europe tomorrow, UKIP's MEP for Wales has warned that whatever David Cameron says will be irrelevant. John Bufton says EU leaders won't allow any changes to the relationship between Britain and Europe.

And he predicts Mr Cameron's pledge of a referendum will turn out to be a false promise.

Whatever he says, I know, either cannot or will not be delivered as the Prime Minister has already set up so many conditionality clauses that he knows he cannot be held to it. He will yet again be held to account for what the public are likely to perceive as yet another broken promise.

– John Bufton MEP, UKIP
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