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UKIP leader Henry Bolton hit by ruling body 'no confidence' vote

From BBC - January 21, 2018

UKIP's ruling national executive committee (NEC) has unanimously backed a vote of no confidence in party leader Henry Bolton.

Mr Bolton has faced repeated calls to quit over offensive texts sent by his former girlfriend.

But he has said he will defy the committee and continue as leader, as a contest would finish the party.

Party members will now be given a vote on whether the former Army officer should remain in post.

UKIP chairman Paul Oakden said Mr Bolton was "disappointed" by the NEC's decision but understood "that the party has a process to go through".

"Henry was offered the opportunity to resign but he has made clear that he feels he is the right man to lead the party forward," he added, after a three-hour emergency meeting to decide his future.

The committee does not have the power to remove him - that can only be done by a vote of the party's membership.

Mr Bolton had earlier toured TV and radio studios, saying the committee had no right to pass "moral" judgement on his private life.

He said he had ended the "romantic element" of his relationship with girlfriend Jo Marney after she sent texts saying Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle would "taint" the Royal Family, leading to accusations of racism.

But he said he would "support her in rebuilding her life", which he said had been "turned on its head".

If the former army officer were to step down it would leave UKIP seeking its fifth leader in 18 months.

'Attempted coup'

Mr Bolton warned that another leadership contest could spell the end for the party, which is believed to be heavily in debt, and said calls for his resignation were part of a "coup" attempt by a rival faction in the party.

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