UKIP'S new leader Henry Bolton visited Newport today, Monday, to meet party members for the first time.

Mr Bolton, who was elected to the role in September, met members at an event at The Neon in Clarence Place this evening.

Speaking exclusively to the Argus, the former Army and police officer, who was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to international security, said he believed it was important to respect Wales' devolution.

"There is a history of the UK Government imposing its will on Wales," he said.

"Wales has a very distinct character and identity.

"Also we have the Assembly here which has aspects which require a particular approach.

"It's not always appropriate to dictate too much from the centre."

Although former Ukip Wales leader Nathan Gill still represents the party for Wales in the European Parliament, in the Senedd he sits as an Independent. Mr Bolton said this made the organisation of the party in Wales "untidy" and said he hoped to resolve this.

He added he was keen to battle the perception of Ukip as being driven by a far-right ideology, pointing to his defeat of anti-Islam candidate Anne Marie Waters in September's leadership contest as proof this does not reflect the views of most party members.

"We in the past have been labelled by some people, both in the media and outside it, as being a hard right-wing party with views that have been seen by some people as extreme," he said.

"What we proved in the leadership contest is that that is not the case.

"The hard right wing candidate was rejected by the party. She's since left and many people who were sympathetic to her views have left.

"I have had a lot of conversations with the lot of national journalists who have actually remarked on how much potential they think is in the party now it has cleansed itself of the hard right."

Although he conceded the party is "not ready for a General Election right now", Mr Bolton said he believed Ukip could do better than it did in June, when it lost its only MP.

"I don't think we are going to have a General Election in the near future," he said. "But we are going to be prepared for one, unlike the last time."

He added: "I've been asked what my USP (Unique Selling Point) is.

"My USP is me.

"What you hear coming out of my mouth is what I believe and it's what I think.

"One of the problems with politics today is politicians say what they think will get them votes. I think that shows a lack of moral integrity and I think the British people deserve some sincerity from their politicians."