UKIP in ‘crisis’ over racist texts, says East of England MEP
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An East of England UKIP MEP has called the current racism row engulfing the party 'the worst crisis since 1999'.
Stuart Agnew said the revelation leader Henry Bolton's 25-year-old girlfriend Jo Marney used racist language had left the party facing 'a difficult period of uncertainty' likening the trouble with a split in the party almost 20 years ago.
Text messages sent by Ms Marney and published in a Sunday newspaper also included calling Prince Harry's fiancée Meghan Markle a 'dumb little commoner' and saying her 'seed' would 'taint' the royal family.
UKIP immediately suspended Ms Marney and Mr Bolton has now said 'the romantic element' of their relationship is over.
Announcing their spilt Mr Bolton said: 'As of last night the romantic side of our relationship is ended.'
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But he later added: 'I honestly don't believe that those are her core beliefs.' Ms Marney has apologised.
UKIP's agriculture and food spokesman Mr Agnew said the party faced a perilous week ahead of a meeting of the national executive next Sunday. And he hinted Nigel Farage could be the man to help.
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'This has been the worst internal crisis for UKIP since the emergency general meeting in October 1999,' he said. 'Farage saved the day on that occasion and it will need someone of similar calibre to do so this time.
'Our NEC is meeting on Sunday to discuss the issue, leaving a difficult period of uncertainty between now and then. In the meantime all our MEPs will be in Strasbourg hoping to muster enough votes to outlaw the devastating practice of electric pulse fishing by Dutch vessels in (what should be) British fishing waters.'
When this newspaper contacted Mr Farage he said he had no comment to make on Mr Bolton but added that he would not stand again as UKIP leader.
Another UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge called for Mr Bolton to go: 'All we get day after day, despite the hard work of our activists, is talk about issues with his personal life, which, frankly, I don't care about.
'But the way he is handling it is unprofessional. He's a political lightweight, completely out of his depth and, frankly, he needs to move away.'
Former UKIP leadership candidate Ben Walker also called for him to resign, accusing him of having 'deeply flawed judgment'.