Page last updated at 07:48 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 08:48 UK

UKIP targets assembly elections

John Bufton
John Bufton becomes the first UKIP MEP in Wales

The UK Independence Party says it will now target seats in the Welsh Assembly after securing its first MEP in Wales.

The party took 12.8% on the vote in Wales, up 2.3% on last time and enough to send candidate John Bufton to Brussels as one of four Welsh MEPs.

Leader Nigel Farage said winning seats in the Senedd "must be the next objective" for his party in Wales.

"I'm convinced now we can build up a much bigger party in Wales and start to win seats in the assembly," he said.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, Mr Farage said his party had "tried very hard" in the previous assembly elections but had not been successful because they were "not seen relevant to that election".

He described Mr Bufton as "very energetic, hard working" who believes the United Kingdom should not be a part of the European Union.

'Debate'

"I think what John can do in Wales is to get a proper debate going."

Mr Farage said he believed much of the funding Wales had obtained via the EU would soon come to an end as much poorer countries like Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey joined.

"There is no such thing as EU money it is our money anyway," he said.

"Just look at the regulatory costs of being part of this union and the UKIP argument is that outside of it we can enjoy trade with the rest of Europe, we can enjoy trade with the rest of the world, we can actually deregulate our small and medium sized businesses."

Mr Farage denied UKIP had benefitted from a nationwide protest vote against the expenses scandals.

"This is the third European election in a row where I have appeared the morning after to be told this is a fluke," he said.

"People are voting for us not because of expenses. The anger over expenses is a symptom of how disenchanted the people have become with career politics.

"They are voting for UKIP because they agree with us."



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