I was born into a mining family in a small village called Fleur-de-Lis (always known as 'Flower') in Monmouthshire. Both my grandfathers were coal miners. My maternal grandfather simultaneously ran a pub, the Masons Arms, in Blackwood and it was there that my parents met.
My father Ron, left school at 14, continuing his education at technical college and night school. A brilliant mathematician, he had to turn down a place at Cardiff University for lack of means, but eventually rose to become the National Coal Board's Chief Engineer in Wales. He was a talented rugby player and played for Blackwood RUFC. Their ground was near the Masons Arms where the players slaked their thirst after matches. My mother, Norma Jones, helped her parents behind the bar.
After marriage, they moved in with my grandparents at the Masons where I happily spent my early years.
In 1960, they moved to Ammanford, by which time my sister, Lindsay, had arrived. I attended the local Grammar School and went on to study economics and politics at Aberystwyth University, gaining a BScEcon (1970) and an MScEcon (1973). I then decided to become a barrister, teaching for three years whilst I passed the preliminary exams. I then took a post-graduate Law Degree at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and gained an LL.M in 1977 - specialising in European Law and Human Rights Law. I was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1979 and specialised in tax, trust and property law.
Standing for Parliament
It was always my intention to go into politics and I fought Abertillery as a Conservative in February 1974, during the miners' strike and three-day-week. The ultimate forlorn hope, it was Labour's safest seat. A Liberal, standing for the first time since 1929, split the tiny anti-Labour vote and we duly lost our deposits.
In 1979, I fought Bradford North but Bradford North fought back and, in 1983, I was elected MP for the Cheshire constituency of Tatton. George Osborne is my successor.
Over the next 14 years, I had a wide range of responsibilities, most in the business and financial field. After a spell as a Government Whip under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, I became Corporate Affairs Minister at the Department of Trade & Industry when Michael Heseltine was Secretary of State. I was responsible for the City, Financial Services Industry, Insurance, Accountancy, Corporate & Commercial Law, Financial Regulation, Fraud & Insider Dealing, Monopolies & Mergers, European Trade Policy, etc. I also spearheaded the Government's Deregulation Initiative - my job being to make life hell for the "Sir Humphreys" and Ministers who failed to cut red tape.
I was a member of the European Union's Council of Ministers in Brussels, responsible for all aspects of trade between Britain and Europe. I also had special responsibility for post-Soviet reconstruction in Eastern Europe and was the UK's delegate to the G7 Conferences.My political views were formed early and I joined the 'Anti-Common-Market League' way back in 1967. All my adult life I have fought to preserve the UK from the tentacles of the bureaucratic and unaccountable 'European Super State'. I joined UKIP in 2002, as it is clearly the only Party to share my over-riding view that Britain is Better Off Out.
I met my wife, Christine, at a student political conference in 1969, while I was at Aberystwyth and she as at York University. We married in 1983 and we have worked closely together ever since. By 1983, she had already spent 13 years working as PA to MPs, including Sir Gerald Nabarro, a larger-than-life character well-known in his day, who voted against Britain's entry into the Common Market.
After I lost my seat in 1997, we created a new life for ourselves. It was no good moping over the cataclysm which had engulfed us. We were determined not to be beaten and to re-build a successful life. One of our favourite films is "Cabaret" and , as Liza Minelli sings:
"What use is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play. Life is a cabaret old chum. Life is a cabaret."
Following a joint appearance on "Have I Got News For You" immediately after I lost my seat, we made a successful living from the media as broadcasters, writers and performers. Christine has done a huge range of TV and radio programmes - most memorably perhaps the first ever 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here' in 2002 and she was a finalist in 'Celebrity Masterchef' in 2010. She also appears regularly on TV & radio and has written widely for newspapers and magazines.
I write on politics regularly for the Sunday Express and, over the years, have contributed to virtually all British national newspapers. I've also done a wide variety of TV and radio programmes, from 'Newsnight' to 'Ali G' and 'Question Time'.
We've also had a life on the stage and had a lot of fun doing things as diverse as 'The Rocky Horror Show' (30th Anniversary Tour in 2002) and Pantomime (which is much harder than it looks). We have also taken our sell-out show, 'Lunch with the Hamiltons', to the Edinburgh Festival 4 times. It has been both rejuvenating and invigorating to do something completely different from the world of politics.
Going Back into Politics
On May 5th I was elected as a Welsh Assembly Member for Mid & West Wales. I am truly honoured to have been elected by the people of Wales and I look forward now to representing them in the Senedd.
On May 9th I was elected by the group of 7 UKIP AMs to be their leader in the Assembly.