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Ukip leader Henry Bolton sacked by party members

18 February 2018

Henry Bolton, who was elected in September, has refused to quit despite a vote of no confidence by UKIP's ruling committee, and party members will now decide his fate.

The extraordinary general meeting of the party in Birmingham will decide whether or not to endorse the NEC's no confidence vote.

Mr Bolton's downfall came at an emergency party meeting called after the The Mail on Sunday revealed his glamour-model girlfriend, Jo Marney, had made racist remarks about Meghan Markle.

The party will announce an interim leader later and an leadership election will take place within 90 days.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: "I believe it would be better to allow Mr Bolton, with all his faults, the chance to turn Ukip into an electoral machine again".

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He added that Mr Bolton would be "exceptionally foolish" to even remain a party member, and predicted a "swathe of members coming back to UKIP" as a result of his departure.

The party, which played a key role in Britain's referendum vote to leave the European Union, is now facing its fourth leadership election in 18 months.

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

Henry Bolton with former girlfriend Jo Marney.

The pro-Brexit party has lurched from crisis to crisis since Mr Farage relinquished power following the 2016 referendum, with a succession of leading party figures failing to keep a grip on the leadership. It's time for UKIP to focus on politics and Brexit and not private lives.

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But Mr Bolton "does not rule out" running for leader again in the event of losing on Saturday.

Mr Bolton had received the backing of Nigel Farage in an intervention that could have proved influential, he said the party was close to collapse but that Mr Bolton was the right person to lead the party out of his difficulties.

In the run-up to the vote, Bolton has hit out at the media interest in his private life following the breakdown of his marriage to Tatiana Smurova, which he said was on par with the Profumo affair and Diana's relationship with Dodi Fayed.

"Secondly, there were a small number of individuals within the party, failed leadership contenders, who saw an opportunity in me leaving my wife to go in for the kill - they're stirring the pot... if they were truly dedicated to the party and their country and not to their own they would have stayed at their posts".

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Ukip leader Henry Bolton sacked by party members