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Folkestone-based Ukip leader Henry Bolton loses vote of no confidence

Ukip leader Henry Bolton has lost the backing of activists to stay on as party leader.

The party’s extraordinary general meeting today follows a vote of no confidence in him by the party’s National Executive Committee.

Party members have backed that vote of no confidence - meaning he will quit the role he has held for less than a year.

Today's vote vote followed revelations about his private life and his relationship with Jo Marney, a glamour model from Maidstone.

Henry Bolton with Jo Marney
Henry Bolton with Jo Marney

Mr Bolton, who lives in Folkestone, faced criticism over the relationship which attracted even more attention when it emerged she had posted racist comments and said the Royal Family would be tainted by Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle.

The leader broke off the relationship saying the comments were indefensible but he has continued to be seen with her and has sidestepped questions about whether he intends to resume the relationship should he lose.

In an address to about 1,500 party members at today's meeting, he said: “I’m personally bitterly sorry for the anguish I’ve caused my wife and her family."

Speaking after the result, Mr Bolton said he had not finished in politics and was "batting around" various options for the future.

He declined to elaborate and did not answer when asked if one was to set up an alternative party.

His ex, Ms Marney, posted a number of messages on social media pledging her continued loyalty to Mr Bolton - but bizarrely, also a reference to their sex life.

Henry Bolton is said to have the backing of former party leader Nigel Farage
Henry Bolton is said to have the backing of former party leader Nigel Farage

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.

Acknowledging that his relationship had caused “deep consternation in Ukip circles” Mr Farage said Mr Bolton “can put the party onto a professional campaign footing.”

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he says: “The basic structures of the party organisation are disappearing; branches are closing; and many of the sitting councillors in the forthcoming Spring elections wish to run as independents.”

Piers Wauchope UKIP NEC member
Piers Wauchope UKIP NEC member

But a member of the party's NEC from Kent said the party would have been "terminally split" had Mr Bolton survived.

Barrister Piers Wauchope said:"I am very pleased with the outcome. I had a very great fear that the party would be terminally divided if Henry Bolton had got back in, particularly given his desire to impose an enormously authoritarian framework on the party. My greatest fear was that perfectly decent people were at each others' throats and he did not see the damage he was causing."

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."

Meanwhile, Mr Bolton's relationship with Jo Marney appears to be set to be resumed. In a supportive tweet after the result was announced she said:

"Pffft. Bunch of muppets. My love for Henry is unconditional of political leaderships. I ain’t going anywhere."

The result of the vote was: For Mr Bolton to stay as leader: 500 - For Mr Bolton to be sacked as party leader: 837

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