South Wales East Assembly Members Mark Reckless and David Rowlands have joined Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
The pair have been joined by AMs Mandy Jones and Caroline Jones – who were both sitting as independents after leaving UKIP.
Now having just two AMs – Neil Hamilton and Gareth Bennett – UKIP can no longer form a group in the Assembly.
Mr Reckless, who was elected as a UKIP AM in 2016, left the party to join the Conservative group in the National Assembly for Wales in 2017.
The AM, who will lead the Brexit Party Assembly group, told Caerphilly Observer: “I have joined the Brexit Party to deliver Brexit. I’ve consistently backed Brexit and Tory promises have been broken.
“I had spoken with Nigel Farage about joining his party. I’ve worked well with him before and he’s done an amazing job recently setting up the new party.
“Valleys communities have for too long not had a credible alternative to Labour.”
Mr Reckless, a regional AM elected through a proportional representation system, added: “I would hold a by-election if I could, as I did when I was an MP, but I can’t under the current system.
“But the people who voted for UKIP want us out of the European Union – that’s what I’ve consistently tried to do.
“Many UKIP voters switched to the Tories when Theresa May made promises, but people are turning to the Brexit Party now after those promises were broken. I’m respecting their views.”
Mr Farage visited Caerphilly town centre on Tuesday, May 1 alongside his new party’s candidates for the upcoming European Elections.
Meanwhile David Rowlands, who was born in Argoed and attended Pontllanfraith Grammar School, has left UKIP to join the Brexit Party. He told BBC Wales that he had become “increasingly disappointed” with the way that UKIP was heading.
He also disagrees with UKIP assembly leader Gareth Bennett’s policy of abolishing the Assembly.
Plaid Cymru has questioned the political legitimacy of the new Brexit Party Assembly group.
A spokesperson said: “We consider this announcement today as having very serious implications for our democracy and our democratic principles here in the Senedd.
“The Brexit party did not stand and were not elected in the 2016 elections. They have no democratic mandate and they should not be permitted to form a group nor given access to public resources and funding in the Senedd. To permit them to form a group would make a mockery of our democratic system in Wales. The Senedd is not a playground for Brexiteer chancers, it is the home of Welsh democracy.”
The South Wales East region comprises of the constituencies of Caerphilly, Islwyn, and Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, as well as Blaenau-Gwent, Monmouth, Newport East, Newport West and Torfaen.
The region is now represented by the two Brexit Party AMs, as well as Plaid Cymru AM Delyth Jewell and Conservative AM Mohammad Asghar.