Former Conservative MP and UKIP Member of the National Assembly for Wales Neil Hamilton has endorsed Paul Nuttall to become the next leader of the party.
He has long been associated with the faction of the party represented by former Tory councillor Suzanne Evans and former Tory MP Douglas Carswell.
Mr. Hamilton left the Conservative Party when he was defeated in the 1997 General Election after becoming widely associated with sleaze and being ‘disgraced’ in the cash-for-questions affair.
“Paul Nuttall announces his intention to stand for leadership of UKIP”, Mr. Hamilton wrote on Twitter on the 23rd of October. “Paul Nuttall is the man for the job”, he added.
— Neil Hamilton AC/AM (@NeilUKIP) October 23, 2016
Mr. Nuttall, the MEP for North West England, has been proudly tweeting about every endorsement he receives from prominent party members; however, he has been conspicuously quiet about Mr. Hamilton getting behind his campaign, despite the two being good friends.
When Mr. Hamilton was elected as UKIP’s leader in the Welsh Assembly in May of this year, outgoing leader Nigel Farage criticised his moves to depose Wales leader Nathan Gill MEP as an “unjust act of deep ingratitude”. Mr. Hamilton hit back, dismissing Mr. Farage as “irrelevant”.
In August, Mr. Hamilton was widely criticised for voting to effectively expel Mr. Gill, the UKIP MEP for Wales, from the party when he was also elected as a Welsh Assembly member.
Mr. Hamilton is also believed to be behind the UKIP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) move to block favourite Steven Woolfe from standing in the previous leadership contest, though Mr. Woolfe was responsible for handing his papers in 17 minutes late.