FORMER MP Neil Hamilton could be in for a return to Parliament after he was selected as Ukip's candidate in the Newport West by-election.

Mr Hamilton was Conservative MP for Tatton from 1983 to 1997 and later left to join Ukip.

In 2016 he was elected as Ukip AM for Mid and West Wales and led the party's Assembly group until May 2018, when he was ousted.

Although Mr Hamilton, who was born in Bedwellty, is not from Newport, in a statement announcing his candidacy he emphasised his connection to the city.


Newport West by-election to be held on April 4 following death of Paul Flynn

Newport West MP Paul Flynn gained a reputation as a man who never minced his words

Newport West MP Paul Flynn has died aged 84

"I have long-standing family links with Newport," he said. "My parents were married in Rogerstone. My mother's family lived in Castleton 200 years ago and moved to Risca when the coal industry developed.

"I was born in the old county of Monmouthshire and lived in Blackwood as a boy."

The by-election, to be held on Thursday, April 4, following the death of Paul Flynn last month, could be the first test of public opinion post-Brexit if the UK leaves the European Union as planned on March 29.

And Mr Hamilton said the vote provided a chance to stand up to the other big parties, which he said are attempting to stop Brexit, and Labour "poke them all in the eye". Although breakdowns of the EU referendum result are not available by Parliamentary constituency, 56 per cent of voters in the Newport local authority area voted to leave Europe in 2016.

Mr Hamilton said: "Ukip is the only party committed to an immediate, clean Brexit.

"On April 4, Newport West can deliver a lightning bolt to Westminster and Cardiff Bay and make the political elite listen to the people.

"Newport can make Brexit happen.

"After 20 years of devolution, Wales is now the poorest part of the UK.

"I will set out Ukip's plans to put more money into the pockets of ordinary people - strict immigration control to combat wage-depression, cheap food by scrapping EU import taxes, cheaper electricity and gas by scrapping 'green taxes', ending the BBC TV licence fee, slashing non-humanitarian foreign aid and abolishing VAT on basic necessities.

"None of the other parties supports any of the above.

"This election will show that Ukip is back and firing on all cylinders."

Ukip's national leader Gerard Batten welcomed the news.

"Neil Hamilton is an enormously experienced campaigner who has been fighting to keep Britain out of the EU since 1967," he said.

"Ukip is taking this by-election very seriously, and we are committing significant resources to it.

"If the United Kingdom does not leave the European Union at 11pm on March 29, Remainer MPs in Leave majority seats will be fearful for their political futures, and Ukip is ready to challenge the political establishment in every corner of the country, starting with Newport."

Also running for Newport West are Jonathan Clark for Plaid Cymru, June Davies for Renew, Conservative Matthew Evans, Ruth Jones for Labour, Richard Suchorzewski for the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, and Amelia Womack for the Green Party.