Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Anti-EU party UKIP votes to sack leader Bolton

Time to go Henry Time to go Henry Credit BEN STANSALL /AFP
Elsie Buchanan | 18 February, 2018, 06:15

UKIP members are gathering at an emergency meeting to decide whether Henry Bolton will remain leader of the party.

Bolton, who called for the meeting after being given a vote of no confidence by party chiefs in January, lost a ballot of members with 63% backing his sacking.

Mr Bolton has admitted he still has "strong affections" for his former girlfriend who sent racist messages about Meghan Markle, and compared the scrutiny of his private life to that faced by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Party veteran Gerard Batten, a founder of Ukip, was announced as the interim leader, while a new leadership election will be held within 90 days.

Under the former leadership of Nigel Farage, the anti-immigration party was instrumental in the 2016 vote for Brexit, but has since been dogged by in-fighting, financial woes and falling public support.

Former army officer Bolton, 54, was not widely known outside the party when he became UKIP's fourth leader in a year in September.

Her party membership was suspended and Mr Bolton suffered a vote of no confidence from Ukip's NEC, paving the way for yesterday's showdown.

President Buhari congratulates South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa
It is often said that Mr Ramaphosa has had his eye on the position of president since the ANC came to power in 1994. But he leaves office with several scandals hanging over him, and with South Africa's economy in dire straits.


Jo Marney's tweets about Meghan Markle prompted the UKIP leader's ouster.

Party chairman Paul Oakden echoed Mr Hamilton's comments regarding the party's future, telling members at the meeting on Saturday to "keep the faith".

And on Friday Mr Bolton criticised the media scrutiny into his private life following the breakdown of his marriage to Tatiana Smurova and his new relationship with Ms Marney.

"I think it's going to be hard to unite the party, what we have effectively had today is a rejection of a new draft constitution, a reorganisation and indeed a new way of doing politics", he said. He also advised Mr Bolton to "get on with the rest of your life" - but Mr Bolton raised the possibility that he might stand again for the leadership, or even sue the party, saying: 'You can not keep a good man down - I am not finished with politics'. My love for Henry is unconditional of political leaderships.

Senior Ukip figure Suzanne Evans told the Press Association ahead of the vote that it was "crunch time" for the party and Mr Farage should again take the helm.

Following the announcement of the result Mr Bolton said he was "disappointed", but added: "I have not finished in politics yet".

Mr Wauchope, who stood for the party in North Thanet at the general election in 2015, said: "It has been an enormously damaging period for the party".

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