Ukip members vote to sack party leader

Under-fire UKIP leader Henry Bolton and right West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge

Under-fire UKIP leader Henry Bolton and right West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge

UKIP members are gathering at an emergency meeting to decide whether Henry Bolton will remain leader of the party.

Shortly after 4.30pm it was announced party members at the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) had voted to back a no confidence motion in him.

He admitted he still had "strong affections" for the 25-year-old, who resigned from the party following allegations she had sent racist text messages about Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle.

The NEC will shortly decide on an interim leader and "a leadership election will take place within 90 days".

"Henry Bolton has been removed by the democratic decision of the membership", outgoing chairman Paul Oakden told the audience, to cheers from the floor.

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His ex, Ms Marney, posted a number of messages on social media pledging her continued loyalty to Mr Bolton - but bizarrely, also a reference to their sex life.

Mr Bolton, a former army officer who became leader last September, said he would stay in his role until party members vote on his future.

Mr Bolton had further angered the party faithful by keeping in touch with Miss Marney, and bizarrely claimed he had been hounded like Princess Diana.

The bookmaker William Hill immediately made former leader Nigel Farage their 7/2 favourite to head up the party yet again.

The pro-Brexit party has lurched from crisis to crisis since Mr Farage relinquished power following the 2016 referendum, with a succession of leading party figures failing to keep a grip on the leadership.

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Bolton had been determined not to expose Ukip to another leadership context.

The cash-strapped party faces a separate series of challenges, including the prospect of a hefty legal bill over a defamation action brought by Rotherham's three Labour MPs against MEP Jane Collins. My love for Henry is unconditional of political leaderships.

"There's probably been nothing like that since the Profumo affair or Diana and Dodi (Fayed)".

Responding to the possibility of Mr Bolton re-running, UKIP's leader in Wales, Neil Hamilton, told Sky News: "He could stand again, he's no stranger to humiliation".

The ex-Army officer had lasted less than six months in the post and the pro-Brexit party will now have to go through its fourth leadership election since the European Union referendum.

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"I think it's going to be hard to unite the party, what we have effectively had today is a rejection of a new draft constitution, a reorganisation and indeed a new way of doing politics", he said.

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