In Brief

Henry Bolton refuses to quit as UKIP leader

Bolton says he will ‘drain the swamp’ - and Nigel Farage offers his support

UKIP leader Henry Bolton has insisted that he will stay on in the role despite the mass resignation of senior party officials over his relationship with Jo Marney, who sent racist text messages about Meghan Markle.

Bolton’s future as leader of the party has been in doubt since a near-unanimous vote of no confidence by the UKIP National Executive Committee on Sunday. That triggered an extraordinary general meeting, at which rank-and-file members will decide whether toendorse or reject the vote.

It also led to a series of resignations among UKIP spokespeople. The party’s deputy leader and immigration spokesman were among those to quit.

But last night Bolton said it was the UKIP governing body that was “unfit for purpose” and vowed to “drain the swamp” within the party by introducing a new constitution at the extraordinary general meeting.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has thrown his weight behind Bolton, saying his response to the crisis “could provide a lifeline” for the party, which must “reform or die”. 

“As one party spokesman after another resigns, I am reminded of the nightmare Jeremy Corbyn faced in 2016 when 21 members of his shadow cabinet resigned,” Farage wrote in The Daily Telegraph. “Corbyn was written off by the press, but the rank and file membership saved him.”

UKIP has 28 days to convene the extraordinary general meeting to decide Bolton’s fate.

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