UKIP leader Henry Bolton faces crunch meetingOn January 21, 2018 by Kenna
The future of UKIP leader Henry Bolton will be up for discussion when the party’s national executive committee (NEC) holds an emergency meeting later.
There have been calls for him to quit after offensive texts reportedly sent by his former girlfriend emerged.
He said his relationship with Jo Marney was “incompatible” after she sent texts saying Prince Harry’s fiancee Meghan Markle would “taint” the Royal Family.
Mr Bolton has said that he would not be standing down.
UKIP’s executive is expected to hold a confidence vote, although it does not have the power to terminate Mr Bolton’s leadership – that requires a vote of the wider party.
If the former army officer were to step down it would leave UKIP seeking its fifth leader in 18 months.
Gerard Batten, UKIP MEP for London, said Mr Bolton’s position was “untenable” and that the controversy was “damaging the party”.
Mr Batten told BBC Breakfast he was willing to step in as an interim leader.
He said: “On Monday if Henry is still the leader of this party then we are going to lose members, activists, branches and donors – and this jeopardises the very existence of our party.”
Patrick O’Flynn, UKIP’s MEP for the East of England, told BBC One’s Sunday Politics East that the party could be “wiped out” if it does badly in May’s local elections.
“There’s no doubt the party is drinking in the last-chance saloon,” he said.
“If we get wiped out again in the district elections too, then maybe people are going to have to get round the table and say: Is the electorate trying to tell us something and is that ‘thank you very much and goodnight’?”
Jonathan Arnott, UKIP’s MEP for the North East of England, quit the party amid calls for Mr Bolton to step down, saying the leader was “not the right person for the job” and that UKIP’s influence over Brexit was waning.
He said UKIP had “shifted” its stance on religious and cultural issues to a degree he could not support.