Nigel Farage failed to spell out what Brexit will offer when repeatedly asked by a BBC journalist.
The Brexit Party leader was challenged by the broadcaster’s Wales political correspondent Arwyn Jones eight times to set out what leaving the bloc would deliver for south Wales.
Farage, whose party has the sole policy of crashing out of the EU without a deal, was in Merthyr Tydfil for a campaign rally ahead of the European elections on May 23.
Jones said the nation was a net beneficiary of EU funding “to the tune of £250m a year” and asked Farage what Brexit would deliver if Welsh agriculture was damaged by Brexit.
Farage, noted for his confident media performances, appeared to flounder before suggesting the UK would be “in charge of” the steel industry.
When pressed, he suggested people in the rural Glamorgan town, which has a population of more than 60,000 would have a “much better opportunity” becoming entrepreneurs and sold traders post-Brexit.
Here is the exchange between Jones and Farage in full.
Jones: Mr Farage, towns like Merthyr have received millions of pounds of regeneration money. This whole town centre has been funded by EU grants. What will Brexit offer them?
Farage: Let’s be honest about it. It’s not EU money. That’s one of the great myths and pretences.
Jones: Wales as a whole is a net beneficiary to the tune of £250m a year. What will Brexit offer?
Farage: We have so far over the course of the last few decades given away hundreds of billions.
Jones: But not Wales. Wales has been a net beneficiary, Mr Farage. Address that point, will you?
Farage: Well the Welsh steel industry certainly hasn’t been a net beneficiary. Absolutely not.
Jones: Agriculture, towns like these valleys have been regenerated using EU grant aid. What will Brexit offer?
Farage: Well, if you’re right about that, why aren’t people better off?
Jones: But what will Brexit offer? Answer the question.
Farage: It will offer opportunities, opportunities.
Jones: Such as?
Farage: Well, for example, the steel industry, we will be in charge of the steel industry.
Jones: That’s in Port Talbot. That’s 40 miles away from here.
Farage: That is in Wales, isn’t it?
Jones: South Wales though? Towns like the South Wales valley?
Farage: We have a chance for the fishing industry. But also, you look up and down these high streets, like the business I just popped into. The key thing to remember: only 12% of the entire UK economy is exporting goods to the European market, and yet, as members of the single market the other 88% ...
Jones: But it is higher in Wales: agriculture for example is highly reliant on EU exports - but what will Brexit offer? You’re not giving me enough of an answer.
Farage: 88% of the UK economy is not exporting...
Jones: We’re in Wales, Mr Farage.
Farage: ... and yet, and yet, we are all stuck with single market rules. So, I think in terms of small business, entrepreneurs, and people setting up as sole traders, I think we have a much better opportunity outside of the European Union.