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Media captionUKIP candidate Gareth Bennett on rubbish problems and East European immigrants in Cardiff

A controversial UKIP member of the Welsh assembly has won a three-way battle to lead the party in the Senedd.

Gareth Bennett has blamed immigrants for rubbish on the streets of Cardiff, and claimed transgender people were undermining society by their “deviation from the norm”.

UKIP ordered a membership ballot to settle a row sparked when Caroline Jones ousted Neil Hamilton in May.

Mr Hamilton had led the group since UKIP first won assembly seats in 2016.

Mr Bennett, AM for South Wales Central, beat Mr Hamilton by 269 to 193 votes in the second round of counting.

Ms Jones – the incumbent leader – was eliminated in the first round with 130 votes.

UKIP won their first seats in the Senedd with seven assembly members taking up positions in Cardiff Bay following the election in 2016.

But the group, which has been rocked by rows, had since shrunk to just five, with the departure of Nathan Gill – who sat as an independent before quitting the assembly amidst a row – and of Mark Reckless, who now sits with the Conservatives.

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Media captionElin Jones said some of Mr Bennett’s remarks had been “particularly hateful”



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