IT’S been quite the few years for Mark Reckless.

Formerly a lawyer, he joined frontline politics in 2010 when he was elected as Tory AM for Rochester and Strood with a comfortable majority.

But, as Ukip rose from a minor fringe party into a real political force, in September 2014 Mr Reckless - a long-time Eurosceptic - jumped ship and joined Nigel Farage’s party.


Gwent AM Mark Reckless quits Assembly Tory group over Brexit

Newport County fan taken to hospital following play-off semi-final victory

Newport City Homes resident facing fine for refusing to move his door mat

To his credit, he stepped down as an MP and triggered a by-election at the same time - which he won, retaining his seat for Ukip, only to lose it when it was taken back by the Tories in May 2015’s General Election.

But just a year later he was back on the front line as one of seven Ukip AMs elected in the 2016 Assembly Election - and it looked like he was onto a winning ticket when, jut a month later, the leave campaign came out on top in the Brexit referendum.

It would have been reasonable to think Ukip would have been able to build on this to cement their place in the Senedd - but this has been far from the case, with the group dogged by multiple resignations, rows over leadership and a number of cases where members got into trouble for making some rather ill-advised comments.

Today the group’s membership has dropped from seven to just three in less than three years.

Perhaps Mr Reckless saw the writing on the wall when, in April 2017 - having been in the Assembly for less than a year - he left Ukip to join the Assembly’s Conservative group.

At the time he said Ukip had “achieved our joint aim - a successful referendum to leave the EU”. The events of the following two years have shown he spoke far too soon - more than a month after we were supposed to have left the EU we’re instead gearing up for European Elections.

So, with Theresa May and her Tory colleagues managing to foul up what we were promised would be “the easiest deal in human history” to a frankly astonishing degree, it perhaps wasn’t much of a surprise to see Mr Reckless leave the group in protest yesterday.

There’s been murmurs around the Senedd that an announcement of a new Brexit Party group made up of Mr Reckless and a few other current and ex-Kippers is imminent - and Nigel Farage himself in is Merthyr Tydfil today, Wednesday, so watch this space.

Unsurprisingly, Mr Reckless has faced calls to quit as an AM - and not for the first time.

And it’s hard to argue with them.

He was elected on Ukip’s regional list, meaning voters cast their votes not for him, but for Ukip.

The fact that he stepped down as an MP of his own volition in September 2014 to give his constituents the opportunity to back him as a Ukip MP rather than a Conservative - and was duly rewarded when they did just that - suggests he's a man of principle who recognises he needs a mandate from those who represents to effectively do his job.

The fact he's failed to do the same in his role as an AM unfortunately casts this into doubt.

Anyone who's spoken to Mark Reckless knows he's pretty far from the popular image of the gurning, red-faced 'gammon' the Eurosceptic camp is often portrayed as.

While you might not agree with his views on Europe, he generally comes across as at least willing to listen to other views, with only a bad-tempered rivalry with Blaenau Gwent's Alun Davies leading him to raise his voice in the Senedd.

Unfortunately, it's his ping-ponging between parties which he's become best known for in Wales - and it's this which he could well end up being best remembered for.

Not much of a political legacy.


Child rapist from Newport Christian Thomas jailed for 15 years after attacking young girl

Newport woman banned from keeping animals for five years after “bag of bones” dog tied to stairs

Gwent weather as high as Barcelona today says Met Office

- While we're on the topic of Brexit, in just over a week's time we're going to have to go back to the polls to elect a new set of representatives to an organisation we apparently don't even want to be a member of any more.

Whether you think we should leave or remain, the fact that we're even having to hold these elections in the first place - with you and I footing the bill, of course - is a deeply embarrassing sign of just how much this has been messed up.

Instead of 'taking back control' and 'forging our own path' and all the other nice things we were promised, we've been shown up as being led by a gang of incompetents who can't stop arguing long enough to put a trade deal together.

Assuming you bother to go to the polls next Thursday - and something tells me a lot of people will be staying home - you'll have the choice between candidates representing the Brexit Party, Change UK or whatever they're called this week, the Conservatives, the Green Party, Labour, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and Ukip.

The English local elections earlier this month suggest the Tories and Labour are in for a kicking - and a well-deserved one at that - but who will benefit remains to be seen.

The Lib Dems came out of the local elections as the big winner, but people far smarter than I have said it's the pro-Brexit parties who are going to have the best results.

So maybe it is time for Mark Reckless to get on board with Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party pals.

He can always change his mind in a couple of years.