Katy Balls

Ukip leader loses ‘no confidence’ vote – and the party’s problems have only begun

Ukip leader loses 'no confidence' vote – and the party's problems have only begun
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Another one bites the dust. Ukip's ruling national executive committee has unanimously backed a vote of no confidence in their leader, Henry Bolton.

But Bolton - whose reputation has been battered by the revelations about his 25-year-old ex-girlfriend Jo Marney's text messages - has resolved to stay in post and under Ukip's rules there is no easy way to remove him.

Only a vote of the party membership can oust the former Liberal Democrat from his post at the top of Ukip. Bolton has refused to step aside, which means the party will have to conduct a postal ballot of its entire membership, one the financially-straitened party can ill afford to bear.  Should he lose the vote of confidence among the membership, the resulting leadership election could well bankrupt the the party.

The bigger problem for Ukip is that the row over its leader, his girlfriend and her inflammatory texts is the closest to headline news the party has got since Paul Nuttall flamed out in the Stoke-on-Trent Central  by-election – putting aside Bolton's comments about strangling a badger. And even if the party survives the financial cost of its ructions, its loss of relevancy is a far bigger problem than its leader's girlfriend.

Written byKaty Balls

Katy Balls is The Spectator's deputy political editor. She is also a columnist for the i paper.

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