- Jack Taylor/Getty Images
- Henry Bolton sacked as UKIP leader by party members.
- Members voted to get rid of Bolton at a UKIP meet-up in Birmingham on Saturday.
- Bolton was under pressure to quit over racist text messages his ex-girlfriend sent about Megan Markle.
- Bolton leaves the post after just 142 days in charge. Gerard Batten has taken over as interim leader.
- The party is also teetering towards financial ruin.
LONDON – Henry Bolton has been sacked as UKIP leader after just 142 days in charge.
The party’s chairman, Paul Oakden, announced shortly before 17:00 (GMT) today that members had voted to support the UKIP National Executive Committee’s no-confidence vote against Bolton.
The UKIP NEC voted to remove Bolton as the party’s leader in December, following the revelation that his then-girlfriend, Jo Marney, sent racist text messages about Megan Markle, Prince Harry’s fiancé.
The texts said Markle would “taint” the Royal Family and had a “tiny brain.” Marney also described Markle as a “negro” and said black people are ugly.
Bolton initially distanced himself from Marney’s comments and claimed to have ended their relationship.
However, the pair were spotted dining together in central London just days later, and Bolton has since refused to rule out getting back together with the 25-year-old.
More than half of Bolton’s top team quit in an effort to force him to resign over the scandal, but he refused– instead pledging to fight on as party leader and implement sweeping changes to UKIP’s constitution.
Party members held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in Birmingham today, where they decided to remove Bolton from the position he has held since just September.
Here is how UKIP members voted:
Confidence (Bolton should stay): 500 (36.6%)
No Confidence (Bolton should go): 867 (63.4%)
Gerard Batten, the party’s Brexit spokesperson, has taken over as interim leader. Batten, an MEP for London, once suggested the Nazis created the “basic plan” for the European Union. He is the party’s seventh leader within the space of just two years.
This is how Marney, a 25-year old model, reacted to Bolton’s sacking:
Well… @_HenryBolton … at least we don’t have to have sex anymore!
— Jo Marney (@Jo_Marney) February 17, 2018
Former UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, had come out in support of Bolton earlier this week.
Farage, who was UKIP leader from 2006 to 2009 and 2010 to 2016, urged the party membership to throw its weight behind Bolton in an interview with The Telegraph.
“I believe it would be better to allow Henry Bolton, with all his faults, the chance to turn UKIP into an electoral machine again,” Farage said.
“The alternative is for the party to carry on down the path of self-destruction into irrelevance.”
UKIP latest leadership drama comes as the party teeters towards a financial crisis.
A judge ruled on Thursday that the party must contribute towards legal fees totalling £660,000 after one of its MEPs was found guilty of defamation. The Guardian estimates UKIP will be forced to pay at least £200,000.
Last month, UKIP treasurer John Bickley admitted that the party had been “living hand to mouth since 2015.” Bolton was not paid for his role as leader and the party has had to make a number of cutbacks across its operations.
The party’s former head of communications, Gawain Towler, was asked to take a significant pay cut before he quit earlier this month after 13 years in the role, a senior UKIP source told Business Insider.
A source close to the party recently told BI the party’s existence is under threat, saying “they’re f****d.”