UKIP leader splits with partner over texts

January 15, 2018

UKIP leader Henry Bolton is in trouble over his girlfriend's racist remarks about Meghan Markle.

The leader of Britain's eurosceptic UK Independence Party is facing calls to stand down after a newspaper published racist messages sent by his girlfriend about Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle.

Last year, Henry Bolton was the fourth leader in a year to be appointed to the helm of UKIP, a party which helped bring about a Brexit vote.

He hit the tabloid newspapers over Christmas when they reported that he had left his wife for 25-year-old model and UKIP member Jo Marney.

The Mail on Sunday published a series of messages sent by Marney to a friend in which she made offensive comments about Markle and black people.

Marney wrote that Markle, a US actress whose mother is black and father is white, will "taint" the royal family, the paper quoted one of her messages as saying.

In another message Marney reportedly said that she would never have sex with "a negro" because they are "ugly".

The newspaper also published an apology from Marney.

"The opinions I expressed were deliberately exaggerated in order to make a point and have, to an extent, been taken out of context. Yet I fully recognise the offence they have caused," Marney said in a statement.

The party suspended Marney after the story came out.

Bolton, 54, announced on Twitter that his girlfriend "was suspended immediately following our receipt of the information".

UKIP's Bill Etheridge, a member of the European parliament, said: "The time has come for Henry Bolton to resign as leader of UKIP. He must go, he must go quickly, he must go as quietly as possible.

"It appears to me that the lack of experience in politics from Henry has got the better of him," he said in a video statement, describing the last few months as "hell" for the party.

Peter Whittle, UKIP's member of the London Assembly, also criticised the remarks, saying they were "disgraceful".

"This person should not just be suspended from @UKIP but expelled altogether," he said on Twitter.

Led by Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, UKIP won nearly foir million votes in 2015, 12.6 per cent of those cast, on its anti-European Union platform, putting it at the forefront of British politics even though it managed to win only one seat in parliament.

But its fortunes have sunk since, hurt by internal fights over its future direction. At last year's election in June, UKIP won 1.8 of the vote.

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