Ukip may become second largest political party in Welsh Assembly after 2016 election

One election forecast indicates that Nigel Farage's party may gain between nine and 11 new Assembly Members

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The Independent Online

A new election forecast appears to show that Ukip is on track to become the second largest party in the Welsh Assembly, following the 2016 elections.

Data released yesterday from UK-Elect Welsh Assembly elections in 2016 indicated a strong Ukip surge, with the party possibly taking as many as 11 seats and placing second only to Labour in the national governing body.

The forecast base was the 2011 Welsh Assembly election, which saw the 30 Labour Assembly Members, 14 Conservatives, 11 members of Plaid Cymru and five Liberal Democrats take their seats in the partially devolved 60 member assembly and used a Uniform National Swing method to calculate the results.

The forecaster then allocates the seats to the first party in each constituency and performs a d’Hondt calculation on the forecast regional results to allocate the additional members.

UK-Elect spokesperson Tim Bickerstaff cautioned against the results, saying the indication was that the margins would be "extremely tight" between Ukip and Plaid Cymru.

Despite the forecast predicting that Ukip would place forth in votes cast overall, behind Labour, the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru, based on feeling towards the party in Wales presently it would still merit enough support to secure a possible 11 Assembly Members.

"Ukip wins many of these additional members, partly because it  isn’t forecast to win any constituency members, but the margins are extremely tight, especially between it and Plaid Cymru, so the Ukip seat range might well be 9 to 11."

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Nathan Gill, Ukip MEP for Wales, said: "This just proves what we are finding on the doorstep when we are talking to people. While the other parties bury their heads in the sand we are coming up with forward thinking policies to deal with the issues people are facing. Lots of our support is coming from traditional Labour areas and since Wales was a traditional Labour area the growth is unsurprising."

In remarks in October Dr Rebecca Rumbul of the Wales Governance Centre said she thought the party would win seats as the Welsh Assembly is elected on a system of proportional representation – giving smaller parties a far better chance than the First Past the Post system, which is used nationally.

The results are a further boost to Nigel Farage’s party, which in September an ICM Research project reported had increased its popularity in Wales by seven points – up to 14 per cent from last March.

The telephone query – which contacted over 1,000 Welsh residents – was conducted after Scotland lost its independence referendum and found a Welsh appetite for independence was small.

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