Published: 19:00, 19 July 2017
| Updated: 19:09, 19 July 2017
A Kent politician has confirmed he will stand in the battle to become the next leader of Ukip.
Henry Bolton, who was the party’s candidate in the election for the role of Kent police and crime commissioner in 2016, has announced he will join the race to succeed Paul Nuttall.
Mr Bolton, who is based in Folkestone, is a former serving 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 is regarded as having fought a well-organised campaign in the crime commissioner election in 2016 when he ran the Conservatives close. But despite approaches from a number of constituencies - including some in Kent - chose not to stand in the general election.
It is understood his candidacy has the backing of several senior key figures in the party who see him as having the skills needed to pull the party together after it saw its support plummet in the June poll.
Mr Bolton, 53, said he was looking carefully at the current organisation of the party and its constitution so that if he stood “I know what I am getting into.”
He said the party needed to establish a broader domestic policy platform to widen its appeal and had to tackle the issue of a right-wing insurgency in the party.
“After the referendum and getting the vote - which had united us - there was no other vision. I think there is a space in British politics for a party which is not part of the left or right spectrum.”
He pointed to the success of Emmanuel Macaron in France to show that traditional political divisions were no longer valid.
A leading expert on international police reform and border controls, he was a police officer for Thames Valley force for eight years, during which he received an award for outstanding bravery.
He is married with three young children.