Henry Bolton, the Kenyan born leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) today unanimously lost a vote of no confidence in his leadership following the revelation his ex-girlfriend Jo Marney sent racist messages.
Following the unanimous vote of the party’s national executive to oust the former Army officer as leader, the party’s membership will get vote on whether to back the no confidence motion and oust Mr Bolton from the top job at an emergency general meeting within the next four weeks.
The outcome of the crunch meeting comes after Mr Bolton earlier today had warned that party will be ‘over’ if he is toppled from the top job.
Mr Bolton toured British TV studios this morning, vowing to stay on as leader of the crisis-hit party.
Speaking to ITV’s Peston on Sunday this morning, Mr Bolton said: “If the NEC decide to go down the route of month of in-fighting and negative media scrutiny and pass a vote of no confidence, I think the reality is that the party is probably over.”
After admitting that his private life had been a “bit of a mess” and plunged his party into a fresh crisis, Mr Bolton vowed to stay on as leader. When asked directly if he was intending to quit, he echoed his comments in a recent Westmonster interview, answering: ‘No I’m not.’
“The party needs cohesion, it needs direction going forward and it needs to continue the agenda to reform the internal workings of the party. A leadership election now would be financially unmanageable for the party. We have got to focus on the May elections,” he added.
Announcing the result of today’s vote, UKIP chairman Paul Oakden said: “The committee took the decision to hold a vote of no confidence in the Leadership of Henry Bolton.
“The vote was carried unanimously with the exception of the Leader.
“This decision will automatically trigger an EGM (emergency general meeting) of the party, to allow the membership of UKIP the democratic opportunity to decide to endorse or reject that vote of no confidence.
“The party is required to hold such an EGM within 28 days of today’s date unless Henry Bolton resigns in the meantime.”
Over the couple of weeks, a number of leading members of the party, including MEP Bill Etheridge, have demanded Mr Bolton go as leader following a number of hugely damaging revelations about his affair with Ms Marney, including new claims made in today’s Mail on Sunday.