POLITICS

Neil Hamilton Refuses Four Times To Say Nigel Farage Should Stay As Ukip Leader

'It's like a married couple who've been together for quite a long time'

10/04/2016 12:47

Neil Hamilton has refused four times to say he wants Nigel Farage to remain as Ukip leader after this June's EU referendum.

Relations between Hamilton, a former Tory MP, and Farage, are strained to say the least. 

The Ukip leader recently failed in an attempt to block Hamilton from standing as a candidate for the party in this May's Welsh Assembly elections.

Speaking to Andrew Neil on the BBC's Sunday Politics programme on Sunday morning, Hamilton was asked if Farage should carry on as leader after June 23.

He dodged the question four times:

1. "He was elected as leader only two years ago for a five-year term, so he can go on with another three before facing re-election."

2. "I think that he will continue as leader beyond the referendum. The world after the referendum will be a very different kettle of fish. I don’t know what his ambitions will be.”

3. "I think there will be a widespread re-evaluation of where Ukip is after the referendum. We’re going to win seats in the Welsh Assembly, in the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly. We will then have a significant cohort of elected representatives in various parliamentary institutions."

4. "I'm not going to call for Nigel to stand down. I’m perfectly certain that if there were an election for Ukip leader now, the party members would vote for Nigel overwhelmingly. So this, I think, is a non-issue."

Asked when he had last spoken to Farage, Hamilton said it had been "several weeks ago".

But he insisted: "We still are great mates. It's like a married couple who've been together for quite a long time.

"You have your ups and downs. He throw the china at me, I pick it up and put it back on the mantlepiece."

On Thursday, The Huffington Post revealed businessman Arron Banks made an audacious bid to take over the running of Ukip in the wake of last year’s General Election disappointment.

Asked by Neil if there would be a "Farage coup" on the party's National Executive Committee after the referendum, Hamilton said he had "no window into Nigel's mind".

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