Published: 15:53, 12 August 2017
A Kent politician has today launched his campaign to become the next leader of Ukip with a drive to tackle the issue of FGM at the forefront.
Henry Bolton, who was the party’s candidate in the election for the role of Kent police and crime commissioner in 2016, has joined the race to succeed Paul Nuttall.
Speaking to an audience at Dover Town Hall today, the former policeman discussed his views on Britain post-brexit and education, but was particularly vocal about the issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
FGM is a procedure where the genitals of young girls are deliberately cut, injured or changed for cultural, religious and social reasons.
He said: “It is abhorrent and not only that it’s illegal.
“It says something about how certain parts of our society view women which is contrary to our intrinsic British values.
“Where is our national campaign to build awareness of this issue?
“There is no national campaign. Under my leadership, Ukip will initiate such a campaign.”
He made reference to the 9,000 cases reported to the NHS every year.
He said: “And there has not been one successful prosecution that I know of.
“We need to tighten up on this, reduce numbers and bring about prosecutions.”
He also discussed the impact on victims.
He said: “We must make sure the resources are for them in terms of psychological and community support.”
Mr Bolton, who is based in Folkestone, is a former police officer and army intelligence officer who has worked in international security in several different countries.
He was awarded the OBE for services to international security in 2013.
He highlighted the importance of making a success of Britain post-brexit.
He says it is crucial we reflect on what it means to be British.
He said: “I want to see Ukip initiate a concept of reflection. What being British means post Brexit? How do we want the rest of the world the view us?”
For those in Deal and Dover, he said, if elected, he will return to the area to help tackle the current Stagecoach campaign against the loss of services.
He said: “In this country, we have a failure to join the dots.”
He said health care and public transport should go hand in hand and the two services need to connect up.
The married father-of-three is one of 11 candidates in the battle to become the next leader of Ukip, along with John Rees-Evan, Anne Marie Waters and Ben Walker.
Mr Bolton told Kent Online: “I’m very satisfied with the launch.
“I’m presently fourth in the general opinion as things stand but today is the first time I’ve made a speech about it.
“Somebody asked me if I thought I could win this and I told them I certainly wouldn’t be in it if I wasn’t confident about it.”
Members of the 60-strong audience included Ukip candidate for Old Bexley & Sidcup in the 2017 snap election Freddy Vachha and Ashford’s candidate Gerald O’Brien as well as many Ukip councillors from the Kent region.
Ashford borough councillor Ryan Macpherson, who was also there, said: “Henry wasn’t afraid to talk about the things that even Ukip has recently been wary to talk about.
“I think it’s the largest audience we’ve had for a candidate so far.”
With only 28 days until the postal ballot, Mr Bolton says he now has a full programme ahead of him, visiting towns and cities around the country as well as attending hustings.