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Head of Britain's Far-Right Party Ousted

  • VOA News

FILE - Then-UKIP leader Henry Bolton joins protesters from "Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans" as they demonstrate in Horse Guards Parade in Westminster in London, Feb. 3, 2018.

Henry Bolton, ousted Saturday as leader of Britain's far-right United Kingdom Independence Party over a racism scandal involving his former girlfriend, said it would be "very difficult" for the party to survive its current leadership crisis.

UKIP, the party credited with the strongest support for Brexit in the 2016 vote on Britain's departure from the European Union, must now elect its fifth leader in less than two years.

While waiting for the decision by his party Saturday at a UKIP meeting in Birmingham, Bolton told reporters, "It's not whether I go, specifically. It's about whether or not the party goes through another leadership contest and an interim leadership beforehand."

With 1,378 UKIP members voting, 63 percent cast ballots to oust Bolton.

In a speech earlier in the day, Bolton made a case for staying in the party's top position and criticized those within the party who wanted him to leave.

The speech was not open to media, but the British newspaper Daily Mail reported that Bolton was booed when he threatened to sue the party.

Gerard Batten will serve as interim UKIP head. Bolton has not ruled out another run for party leadership.

Bolton's personal life made headlines in December after news broke that the 54-year-old had left his wife and young children and had begun a relationship with Jo Marney, 25, a fashion model.

In January, phone texts Marney had sent to a friend were made public, showing Marney had made racist comments about the fiancee of Britain's Prince Harry.

Marney said biracial American actress Meghan Markle, who is engaged to marry Harry later this year, would "taint our Royal Family."

"This is Britain, not Africa," she wrote.

Marney publicly apologized after news media published her words. Bolton later said he had ended their relationship.