BEN Walker has been endorsed by Welsh UKIP AMs for party leader.
Gareth Bennet and Neil Hamilton have made the announcement in Cardiff with much fanfare after the UKIP National Executive Committee ruled that former UKIP Leader, Gerard Batten, is not eligible to stand in the leadership election.
Gareth Bennett, who was a candidate for the leadership until earlier this week, emphasised Ben Walker’s commitment to the grassroots of the party.
“We want to involve the grassroots in formulating policy. This is a vision I can wholeheartedly subscribe to. Having known him for the past year on the NEC, I am happy to endorse his candidacy.” – Bennett.
Ben Walker has served as a town councillor, district councillor, a mayor of a local authority, and was in the Royal Navy. As the frontrunner to lead UKIP, Walker offers an experience which the other leadership candidates lack.
Neil Hamilton served as a Conservative Member of Parliament from 1983-97 prior to joining UKIP nearly two decades ago. He emphasised Walker’s youth, commitment to localism, and the vision to professionalise UKIP as reasons to support Ben Walker’s candidacy.
Hamilton went on to say that “I think it’s time to have a younger person at the helm in UKIP. I think we want someone who will focus on the grassroots of the party. In the past [UKIP] has been run very much as a top-down institution. We have seen the results of failure to invest in party infrastructure. We spent millions of pounds over the past five or six years on elections, and what do we get to show for it? Nothing in terms of party offices, or backup staff to help people who once they get elected.”
Hamilton continued by saying that “The future of UKIP is going to be as the Liberals decided in the 1970s to build the party up from the grassroots at the local level. The Liberals are where they are today because they invested in councillors, and that’s what UKIP’s got to do.”
Nominations to stand in the leadership elections formally close today. Walker is the current frontrunner now that Batten will not be a candidate in the election.
One can find more information regarding Ben Walker’s campaign at