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  1. ITV Report

UKIP wants Assembly abolished and calls for referendum in 2024

UKIP's leader in the Assembly, Gareth Bennett, has announced an end to the pro-devolution policy brought in by Nigel Farage, who has now left the party. Credit: Senedd TV

UKIP is to campaign for a referendum on whether to abolish the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Government and says it would urge voters to scrap them both.

The party's National Executive decided to abandon its previous support for devolution, a policy introduced by UKIP's former leader Nigel Farage, who is no longer a member of the party.

He'd argued that a party campaigning for a referendum on EU membership couldn't ignore the results of the referendums which led to the establishment of the Assembly and then to it getting additional powers.

It was also consistent with his support for an English Parliament, which he expected would provide UKIP with a platform.

In 2016, it was the Assembly election that gave UKIP a platform, when it secured seven seats in the Senedd, since reduced to to four by defections.

Gareth Bennett, who became group leader in August, has adopted an anti-devolution stance.

Devolution is a white elephant which has added nothing to the welfare of people in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

The devolved assemblies are a waste of taxpayers’ money, and need to be scrapped.

What the UK clearly doesn’t need is this tier of extra politicians who add no value to public life. Most indicators show that Wales’ performance has got markedly worse since 1999, when devolved government began.

We have to accept that devolution hasn’t worked for most people.

– UKIP Group Leader Gareth Bennett AM

UKIP's overall leader in Wales, Neil Hamilton, said that the Assembly's 25th anniversary, in 2024, would be a good time to hold a referendum on whether to abolish it. He's said it would be 'fine' if people want it to continue but they should have the chance to vote on the issue.