Only 80 candidates standing for UKIP in local elections

David Rowlands

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David Rowlands: “We’re a party that has really grown from the top down”

Just 80 UKIP candidates are standing in May’s council elections in Wales, despite the party finishing fourth in the 2016 assembly poll.

UKIP also successfully campaigning to leave the EU less than 10 months ago.

BBC Wales’ analysis of nominations suggests there are 944 Labour candidates, 630 Conservatives, 577 Plaid Cymru candidates, 280 Liberal Democrats, 80 UKIP and 78 Greens.

There are 160 candidates standing for other parties and 714 independents.

Altogether 1,254 seats are up for grabs in Wales’ 22 local authorities.

But 92 candidates have already been returned unopposed, a similar number to the 2012 elections.

One ward, Yscir in Powys, has attracted no candidates at all.

Last year UKIP won seven of the 60 seats in the Senedd, taking more than 12% of the vote.

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David Rowlands, UKIP AM for South Wales East, said the party was planning to appoint a regional organiser, but added changes were “still up in the air” and “that’s why we aren’t as well organised as we might have been for the council elections”.

He said: “Nothing has been ratified yet. [Party leader Paul Nuttall] is going to each of the regions and once they see how it’s all panned out and can they get the same sort of agreement in the English regions that we seemed to have settled on in Wales.”

“We’re a party that has really grown from the top down. We had MEPs before we had any councillors.

“Now we’re looking to interact much more with the grassroots of the party and get those involved, truthfully in the same way as the Lib Dems have done,” he said.

Mr Rowlands also suggested UKIP were “a little bit like Leicester City”.

“We’ve had this fantastic situation where we won the Brexit election,” he said.

“Of course you then have a huge restructuring of the party after it, where do we go from here, how do we now reinvent ourselves in some ways.”

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