UKIP Leader Henry Bolton refuses to step down and says it’s time to ‘drain the swamp’
Henry Bolton has refused to step down as UKIP leader despite a string of high-profile resignations and a vote of no confidence from his party.
UKIP’s National Executive Committee voted this weekend to pass a unanimous vote of no confidence in leader Henry Bolton.
Bolton was heavily criticised after a series of racist text messages were discovered from Bolton’s girlfriend, Jo Marney.
Calls were made for Bolton to resign after The Mail on Sunday revealed the racist texts in which Marney called Meghan Markle a “negro” whose “seed [will] taint our royal family.”
In a statement made on Monday afternoon, Bolton confirmed that he would not be resigning from his role as UKIP leader and instead would wait for a national vote by the party’s membership.
He said: “I respect the next steps in the constitutional process and will therefore not be resigning as Party leader. I repeat I shall not be resigning as Party leader.
“Instead, during the next four weeks I shall be calling for the coordination and mobilisation of all Leave campaigns, to ensure that the government delivers full independence from the European Union in all areas of government and administration and I shall be calling for the Party itself to mobilise to support this agenda.”
Bolton, a former officer in the British Army, was the surprise winner of the party’s leadership contest, blasting past all of the frontrunners in a dramatic upset.
Unlike some of his rivals, who made the headlines with homophobic comments during the race, Mr Bolton had not publicly spoken about LGBT issues before.
However, in a press conference immediately after his appointment in September, Bolton said LGBT equality had gone “too far”.
During his statement on Monday, Bolton addressed the UKIP’s National Executive Committee itself which had given him the vote of no confidence, calling it “unfit for purpose”.
He said: “Without reflecting at all on its individual members, the NEC, as presently constituted, is unfit for purpose and has severely handicapped the Party’s progress and political delivery for some years.
“It is now time to put an end to the factional in-fighting within the Party and to remove those who have been a part of that.”
As of Monday afternoon, twelve senior members of the party, including the deputy leader have resigned in protest against Bolton’s refusal to resign.
Bolton then echoed the language of President Trump towards the end of his statement, saying: “In a single phrase, it is time to ‘Drain the Swamp’.
UKIP has had six leaders in the last two years – with the reins passing between Nigel Farage, Suzanne Evans (whose acting leadership was revoked before she even took up the post), Nigel Farage, Diane James, Nigel Farage, Paul Nuttall and Steve Crowther.
As he concluded his non-resignation, Bolton then cemented his commitment to the UK’s departure from the European Union.
“Let me re-iterate, the most pressing issue facing our country is to ensure that we gain full independence from the European Union; that we do not allow the government to betray the country by compromising that goal,” he said.
Bolton will be interviewed by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage on his LBC radio show Monday evening.