BUT PARTY CHIEFS HIT BACK, BLASTING HER VOTING RECORD AND ACCUSING HER OF BEING‘INEFFECTIVE’
A NORTH Wales AM has quit Ukip over its association with farright activist Tommy Robinson.
Michelle Brown has cut ties with the party after it was revealed Robinson would be sponsoring a Ukip Brexit event this week.
She is now the fourth Assembly member to leave the party since 2016.
However, Ukip leaders have hit back at Ms Brown’s claims, saying she has a poor attendance in the Assembly and is only quitting to “avoid facing censure”.
Ms Brown said she had fears over the party’s relationship with Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon – when Ukip Wales leader Neil Hamilton appeared alongside him at the “Brexit Betrayal” march in December 2018.
But the final straw appears to be that NORTH Wales’ Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones has been renominated to run again for the role in 2020.
The commissioner has said he will make protecting the elderly from scammers a priority for his next term.
Mr Jones, a retired police inspector and former Wrexham county councillor, received the support from members of Plaid Cymru at the party’s conference in Bangor last weekend.
He has been in post since 2016 and has hit national headlines several times with his campaigns around the decriminalisation of cannabis including suggesting the drug could be sold in off-licences. Robinson, who is a political adviser to Ukip leader Gerard Batten, has now offered to sponsor the Ukip: Make Brexit Happen event on Friday, March 29 in Whitehall.
Ms Brown insisted that her former party’s criticism of her Assembly record were incorrect: “I am very often at the Assembly, working, and asking questions in the Chamber but then not voting for the reason already stated, so it is utterly wrong to associate a voting record with attendance. “On one of the occasions, for example I was on a trip to the European Parliament with fellow AMs from all parties, on the External Affairs committee, working
Speaking to the Local Democracy Service Mr Jones said he was proud of his achievements in office. These include the introduction of body worn videos on officers which he said had helped to avoid malicious allegations against police officers.
He also set up the first modern slavery unit in Wales which tackles the use of force to recruit or move people for the purpose of exploitation.
Mr Jones said there had been a 35% reduction in repeat domestic violence offences since he took office. On his on Brexit as I hoped the Ukip group would do. Instead, they seem to prefer spending their time on periphery issues like abolishing the Welsh Assembly and Islam-bashing.”
She also labelled the party group in the Welsh Assembly as a “boys’ club”.
It no longer has any female members after Caroline Jones resigned and Mandy Jones was excluded.
Gareth Bennett, leader of the Ukip group in the Welsh Assembly, and Mr Hamilton, have attacked Ms Brown over the claims.
Mr Bennett said: “This comes as no surprise as Michelle has been on the periphery of the Ukip Group for some time, and has largely excluded herself from the group’s business.
“She has one of the worst attendance and voting records in the Welsh Assembly.
“Her North Wales office hasn’t priorities for his next term he said he saw the role of the police as being the protector of the vulnerable. This would include setting up a special unit to protect the elderly from financial fraud.
He said: “I also want to see more support for victims and witnesses, we can do a lot better in compliance with the victim code of practice. We have victim support officers who can provide advice. So if someone has been a victim of fraud they would help with contact of their bank. If you’re vulnerable you might not know what to do, so been open for months.
“She should now do the honourable thing and resign her seat, as she urged Nathan Gill to do when he left the Group.”
Mr Hamilton said: “Michelle has not voted in nine out of 17 plenary sessions this year, and her seat is usually vacant.
“Journalists have noted this, and following a media enquiry last week, Michelle was asked for comment but declined to reply to our own group office’s enquiries.
“It seems she has jumped ship to avoid facing censure from the group for her clear lack of commitment to her party and her constituents.”
Ukip leader Mr Batten said: “While we are disappointed to lose a member, Michelle Brown proved herself to be singularly ineffective as a member of the Welsh Assembly or in assisting Ukip build support in Wales.” it’s having someone there to advise and represent you. I want to see more work done along these lines.”
He added: “A lot of older people lose confidence after they have been a victim of a crime involving a breach of trust like fraud.
“Criminals are more adept at getting to people, they ring them up with a story and they persuade them to hand over passwords and things like that which allows them to access their bank details. We need to be ahead of the curve, we are forever trying to catch up. But we can do a lot more preventative work around fraud.”
● Arfon Jones
● Michelle Brown and Tommy Robinson