NOT OVER Ukip leader Henry Bolton says he could ‘potentially’ rekindle his love with racist ex Jo Marney
The leader is clinging on to his job – despite 16 senior figures quitting in protest to his handling of the scandal
UNDER-FIRE Henry Bolton has admitted he COULD get back together with his racist model ex-girlfriend.
Henry Bolton has refused to quit as Ukip leader and signalled he may rekindle his romance with a young activist who sent racist text messages, despite mass resignations from the party’s senior team over his handling of the affair.
The Ukip leader insisted he wanted to stay in post to “drain the swamp” within the party, even though at least 15 of his spokespeople have now quit their jobs in protest at his behaviour.
Pressure on Bolton has intensified since Ukip’s national executive unanimously voted for him to step down on Sunday, following his relationship with Jo Marney, a 25-year-old found to have sent racist messages.
Bolton claimed to have ended the three-week romance but was subsequently photographed having dinner with Marney and admitted they were still in contact.
A string of senior party figures resigned and called for him to go on Monday, but Bolton called a defiant press conference outside a Folkestone hotel, declaring he would be remaining in post.
He offered no comment on the resignation of more than half of his frontbench and will now face a vote of the membership to be convened within the next four weeks.
“I respect the next steps in the constitutional process and will therefore not be resigning as party leader. I repeat, I shall not be resigning as party leader,” he said.
He said the Ukip national executive was “unfit for purpose” and he would therefore be proposing a new party constitution with a reformed ruling body for the party.
“In a single phrase, it is time to ‘drain the swamp’,” he said, echoing an earlier tweet from Marney.
He later told an LBC radio phone-in hosted by the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage that there were still “strong feelings” between him and Marney. He said their romantic relationship was “off, certainly at the moment” but added that “who knows what the future holds?”
Farage sounded less than impressed with his successor’s handling of the job, suggesting it had been “pretty stupid” for him to be photographed with Marney. But he said it was right for him to hold out for a vote of Ukip members, just four months after being elected to the post.
Five of Bolton’s frontbench said they were not standing down at present, including Jim Carver, an assistant deputy leader, who told the Guardian he was involved in efforts to resolve the situation. Another four are yet to comment publicly.
However, the Ukip leader lost 10 portfolio holders on Monday, with spokespeople for work and pensions, culture, London, education, local government, trade, justice and environment, as well as the deputy leader and another assistant deputy leader quitting during the course of the day.
That added to five resignations from the spokesmen for immigration, Brexit, sport, Treasury and disabilities over the last couple of weeks.
The spokespeople who stepped down were adamant in their message that Bolton should go. Margot Parker, the deputy leader who led a wave of resignations on Monday, told BBC Radio Northampton: “It would be quicker and cleaner if he came to the conclusion he could go sooner rather than later. This is taking time away from doing the job. This puts the party in a limbo situation.”
Gerard Batten, one of the most longstanding Ukip officials to quit, said Bolton was irrational and “sticking like muck to a blanket”. And he made it clear that he and colleagues would be ready to come back to their roles as soon as the leader quit.
If Bolton does resign, Ukip will be forced to search for its fifth leader in just two years. It was previously plunged into chaos in autumn 2016 when Diane James succeeded Nigel Farage but survived just 18 days in the job before resigning. Paul Nuttall took over from her but resigned after a disastrous general election result for the party when it took less than 2% of the vote.
Bolton, 54, was elected in September after a tight seven-way race. But his problems began after it emerged he had begun a relationship with Marney, a Ukip activist, over Christmas. He was then forced to end the liaison after reports that she sent offensive messages on social media, which included racist terms about Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s fiancee.
Bolton’s relationship with Marney brought an end to his marriage to his wife, Tatiana, with whom he has two children. They live in Vienna, where she supports the family – his Ukip role is unpaid – through a job with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
If Bolton clings on until the extraordinary general meeting, it spells four more weeks of lurid headlines and negative coverage for a party already slumping in the polls and low on cash.
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Source : https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5403515/ukip-leader-henry-bolton-says-he-could-get-back-together-with-racist-ex-jo-marney/
Source : https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/22/henry-bolton-refuses-to-quit-as-ukip-leader-amid-mass-resignations