The leader of the pro-Brexit UK Independence Party is facing pressure to resign after his girlfriend said black people were “ugly” and that Prince Harry’s fiancée Meghan Markle would “taint” the royal family.
Jo Marney, the 25-year-old girlfriend of UKIP leader Henry Bolton, sent a series of text messages that were obtained by UK newspaper The Mail on Sunday.
In the messages, the model expressed her dislike for Meghan, describing her as a “dumb little commoner” with a “tiny brain”.
She also said other cultures were “pushing their way to the top” in a move that she believed could result in a “black king”.
The Mail on Sunday reported that Ms Marney called black people “ugly” and in a discussion about the upcoming royal wedding, said “This is Britain, not Africa.”
In a statement to the newspaper, Ms Marney apologised unreservedly for her “reckless” and “unnecessary” comments.
“The opinions I expressed were deliberately exaggerated in order to make a point and have, to an extent, been taken out of context. Yet I fully recognise the offence they have caused,” the statement said.
A journalism graduate who has modelled for British designer Lulu Guiness, Ms Marney has made previous controversial posts on social media.
According to the Sun Online, she branded Grenfell Tower a “nest of illegal immigrants” and called Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims “whinging little divas” in a series of Facebook rants.
Ms Marney was immediately suspended from UKIP, but her comments have led to calls for her boyfriend Mr Bolton, 54, to resign.
As yet, he hasn’t commented on his girlfriend’s choice of words.
MailOnline released footage showing the besieged leader replying “No” when asked if he will standing down over the Marney furore.
But UKIP party chairman Paul Oakden told BBC One show Sunday Politics Mr Bolton may face an ultimatum: his job or his girlfriend.
“I think it’s very clear that Henry is increasingly in a position where he’s got some difficult decisions to make,” said Mr Oakden.
“He knows that. I’m sure whatever he does will be in the best interests of the party.”
‘He must go’
Before the furore over Ms Marney’s texts, Mr Bolton was already under pressure from his party over the controversial relationship.
A twice-married father-of-three, he left his second wife Tatiana, 42, before going public with his relationship with Ms Marney.
Mrs Bolton said she was dumped by her husband via text message while she was “still breastfeeding” their second child.
In 2017 Mr Bolton was the fourth leader in a year to be appointed to the helm of UKIP, a party which helped bring about the Brexit vote.
Last week, before the latest scandal emerged, he said the media coverage about his personal life was an unwanted distraction.
“Quite honestly, I would not have wanted in any way the publicity this has attracted. I would like it to die down,” Mr Bolton said.
Bill Etheridge, a UKIP Member of the European Parliament, said Mr Bolton “must go” to save his party from “horrific headline after horrific headline”.
“The way he’s handling it, he’s unprofessional, he’s a political lightweight, completely out of his depth.”
UKIP has seen its fortunes fade dramatically since the Brexit referendum.
Led by Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, in 2015 UKIP won 12.6 per cent of the votes cast, on its anti-European Union platform.
It received just 1.8 per cent of the vote in last year’s general election.