Mark Reckless confirms he's switched to anti-devolution 'Abolish' party

Mark Reckless has confirmed that he is joining the anti-devolution party 'Abolish the Welsh Assembly' becoming its second Senedd member.

Until last week, he led the Brexit party group in the Welsh Parliament, but said that the party has "now fulfilled its purpose".

He was elected in 2016 as a UKIP member, but sat as an independent aligned with the Welsh Conservative group for a while. He had previously defected from that party to join UKIP when he was a member of the UK Parliament, standing down to fight a by-election.

Mark Reckless will join Gareth Bennet, another former UKIP member who joined Abolish in June.

'Abolish', which is promising a rebrand to reflect the institution's change of name from Assembly to Senedd, has seen a number of defections from the Conservatives and Brexit parties ahead of next May's Senedd election.

It is promising to field candidates in a number of areas. Recent ITV Wales polls put support at 4%.

Mark Reckless says he hopes to be one of the candidates, telling ITV Wales that he would like to lead the regional list in South East Wales, which he currently represents, but that any decision was up to the 'Abolish' board.

I asked him if people could trust him, given that he had switched parties four times.

He said, "People can criticise", but added, "What I’ve tried to do is get us out of the European Union and deliver Brexit. Unfortunately others have promised to do that and then gone back on their word and that’s why we had the Brexit party, but we’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve.

"Many who didn’t take much interest in devolution before now are [interested] because covid has been used to split our country apart, now to have border controls to stop people from England coming in to Wales.

"We’ve seen devolution of tax raising powers, becoming a parliament, more and more members of that parliament are now suggested and many people feel that’s just gone too far and would prefer to be one United Kingdom rather than to see Wales separated from England.

"So that’s what we want to do in the 'Abolish' party: abolish the assembly, the Senedd and the Welsh Government and instead have one United Kingdom altogether and one NHS working for everyone."

Mark Reckless' former Brexit party colleagues, David Rowlands and Mandy Jones, have formed a new group with another former party member, Caroline Jones.

She will now lead the Independent Alliance for Reform, which is not campaigning to abolish the Senedd.

Neil Hamilton remains in UKIP but sits as the party's sole Senedd member. Michelle Brown sits as an independent and has dismissed any suggestion she might join 'Abolish.'

“If we want to cure our country’s ills, it’s the party in Government that needs changing, not the Welsh Parliament itself.

“As far as me joining ‘Reform’ or ‘Abolish the Assembly’ is concerned, I’d rather dive into a pool of my own vomit than join either of them."

Richard Suchorzewski, Leader of The Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, welcomed Mark Reckless' defection."This move by Mark in joining us, shows that Abolish means business. It also represents the end of an era for Welsh Brexiteers who have successfully accomplished what they originally set out to do. For them, their mission is over, for us, the journey has just begun."