There’s still life in Ukip, but for the party’s sake Henry, please go!
If I had £1 for every time I was told “Ukip is finished”, I’d be rich. But this is our 25th year and last week we took three times the Lib Dem vote in a by-election in Bolton. Nationally we are polling ahead of the Green party, and no one is saying those two parties are finished, so I’m confident there’s life in Ukip yet.
That doesn’t mean the current crisis isn’t potentially catastrophic, coming as it does at the end of a bad run of leadership disasters. We are a long way away from those heady days when we won the 2014 European elections;, saw Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless’s dramatic defections, and Douglas returned to parliament when the party nationally took 14 per cent of the vote in the 2015 general election. Now, we will be lucky to hold on to any of the council seats we will defend in May. Having spent much of the last five years defending Ukip against unfair criticism, for once I don’t blame anyone having a joke at our expense.
I regret the pain I’ve caused my family and Ukip, the party I serve
It’s a funny thing. Despite becoming leader of a national political party, a party through whose efforts the country was given the opportunity to vote upon its future, I cannot pretend that anybody beyond a very small circle had heard of some chap called Henry Bolton.
All that changed a few weeks ago, when life did what life does at times and took an unexpected turn. The results of which have amongst other things meant that I can no longer go anywhere without legions of citizen journalists snapping away on their mobiles and sending them on – at a fee – to any news outlet that will pay.
Ukip leader Henry Bolton says split from racist lover Jo Marney is complicated
The leader of Ukip refused to say yesterday that he had separated from the 25-year-old model whose racist texts plunged the party into anarchy, despite previously saying their relationship was over.
In comments that endanger his precarious grip on his job, Henry Bolton acknowledged that he was still in contact with Jo Marney, whose offensive remarks about Meghan Markle led to Ukip’s ruling national executive committee unanimously passing a motion of no confidence in him.
Mr Bolton, 54, has refused to resign over the affair but has hitherto stressed that the romantic element of his relationship with Ms Marney was over. Yesterday, however, he declined to say whether they had separated and told Talk Radio only that he was “moving on” and “we have moved on”.