The Kenyan born UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader, Henry Bolton, has refused to stand down, despite a wave of senior party officials quitting in an attempt to force him out.
A defiant Mr Bolton said UKIP’s main focus should be on supporting Brexit and echoing President Trump’s election call, said the party should “drain the swamp” of those that had plunged it into infighting.
The 54-year-old former Army officer also attacked the party’s national executive committee which unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in him on Sunday, branding it “unfit for purpose” and adding that it had lost his confidence and that of members.
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.
In a single phrase, it is time to ‘drain the swamp’.
Mr Bolton also accused the NEC of “severely handicapping” UKIP’s progress for several years and vowed to focus his energy on making sure the Government did not “betray” people on Brexit.
UKIP general secretary Paul Oakley responded with a post on Twitter of a depressed Garfield the cat cartoon captioned “sigh”.
— Paul Oakley UKIP (@PaulJamesOakley) January 22, 2018
But Mr Bolton did get the support of his ex-girlfried Jo Marney who tweeted Mr Bolton with a thumbs up emoji and the message “#FlushTheBog”.
— Jo Marney (@Jo_Marney) January 22, 2018
Speaking to former leader Nigel Farage on LBC, Mr Bolton left open the possibility of rekindling a romance with Ms Marney, who was suspended from the party following a series of offensive messages she had sent were published.
We’re still in contact, of course there are strong emotions there, but we both need to sort our own private lives out.
So the romantic side of the relationship is off, certainly at the moment, and going forward, who knows what the future holds?
In a welcome respite for the embattled leader, Mr Farage later backed Mr Bolton and his bid to overhaul the party, saying it must “reform or die”.