UKIP members sack Henry Bolton after lover's comments about Meghan Markle

Lawrence Kim
March 19, 2018

At an extraordinary general meeting in the central English city of Birmingham, activists voted by 867 to 500 to endorse the no confidence motion.

More than 20 UKIP Peterborough branch members voted to support the former army officer but that was not enough to keep him in the role he had held for less than five months. "Locally, we are united, strong and ready to offer common sense policies to the people of Peterborough".

The party's new interim leader is Gerard Batten, a Ukip MEP who sparked controversy a year ago when he said that non-Muslims should have a "perfectly rational fear" of Islam, which he described as a "death cult" steeped in violence.

'Henry Bolton has been removed by the democratic decision of the membership, outgoing chairman Paul Oakden told the audience, to cheers from the floor.

But the party has seen its poll ratings slide since then, and has struggled to move out of Farage's shadow since the referendum.

Asked if he was going to get back together with Ms Marney, he said: "I have said all along that once we got the EGM out of the way I would spend time sorting out my private life".

The NEC will shortly decide on an interim leader and "a leadership election will take place within 90 days".

The row around Ms Marney's messages was "the last straw" and Mr Bolton's handling of the issue indicates "he just doesn't get it".

"I'm slightly disappointed. It's not a great feeling", Bolton told Sky News, but he did not rule out running for leader again.

"Ukip came into being because it filled a political vacuum".

Mr Batten, who once described Islam as a "death cult", said: "I have never made comments about Muslims, I have always talked about ideology and the literalist interpretation of that ideology".

Senior Ukip figure Suzanne Evans told the Press Association that it was "crunch time" for the party and Nigel Farage should return to lead it.

Paul Oakley said "Henry will be out after the local elections if he isn't out today" as the party was not prepared for May's contests.

The cash-strapped party faces a separate series of challenges, including the prospect of a hefty legal bill over a defamation action brought by Rotherham's three Labour MPs against MEP Jane Collins.

Former leader Nigel Farage handed Mr Bolton a lifeline by supporting him, but said the party was "collapsing".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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