UKIP in chaos as senior members resign over racist texts ′debacle′ | News | DW | 22.01.2018
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UKIP in chaos as senior members resign over racist texts 'debacle'

The euroskeptic party has been thrown into chaos as its leader refuses to step down over his girlfriend's texts. UKIP colleagues have called on Henry Bolton to "step down with dignity" instead of dragging the issue out.

Several ranking members of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) resigned on Monday in protest at the party's leader, Henry Bolton, who is refusing to step down.

UKIP has advanced the formal process of removing Bolton from leadership after his 25-year-old model girlfriend, Jo Marney, made racist remarks about American actress Meghan Markle, who is set to marry Prince Harry in May.

Read more: UKIP leader Henry Bolton clings to job but not girlfriend after her racist Meghan Markle texts

Marney claimed that Markle's "seed" would "taint our royal family," calling her a "dumb little commoner," according to texts published by the Mail on Sunday eight days ago. Markle has described her mother as African-American.

'You should resign'

At least six ranking members in the euroskeptic party have resigned over Bolton's refusal to step down, including deputy leader Margot Parker and William Dartmouth, UKIP's trade spokesman and South West England MEP.

"When you became leader you said you would make the party successful," said Dartmouth in his resignation letter, reported the BBC. "If you still feel that way then you should resign forthwith."

In a tweet, David Kurten, who resigned as UKIP education spokesman, called on Bolton "to step down with dignity rather than extending the current debacle for another four weeks."

UKIP's national executive committee formally backed a no-confidence motion against Bolton on Sunday.

Under Nigel Farage's tenure as party leader, UKIP managed to successfully campaign for Brexit

Under Nigel Farage's tenure as party leader, UKIP managed to successfully campaign for Brexit

Waning popularity

The anti-immigration party has witnessed its popularity nosedive since it championed the UK's exit from the EU, culminating in a successful Brexit referendum in 2016.

Under the leadership of MEP Nigel Farage, UKIP managed to gather 12.6 percent of the vote in the 2015 general election, making it a force to reckon with in British politics.

However, the party failed to match its 2015 performance in last year's snap election, managing just 1.8 percent of the vote. Since Farage stepped down as party leader in the wake of the Brexit referendum, UKIP has had three leaders, including Bolton, plus a pair of caretakers.

Watch video 26:00

Ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage | Conflict Zone

ls/msh (Reuters, AP)

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