UKIP engulfed in racism row over Meghan Markle texts
PUBLISHED: 09:26 14 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:54 14 January 2018
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UKIP’s leader Henry Bolton has been called on to step down after his model girlfriend reportedly sent highly offensive text messages about Meghan Markle.
The crisis stricken party has suspended 25-year-old Jo Marney after she apparently said Markle would “taint” the royal family, that she had a “tiny brain” and black people were “ugly”.
The Mail on Sunday claimed she made the remarks in a text message to a friend.
In a statement to the paper, Marney said she apologised “unreservedly” for the “shocking language” used in the messages, but said they had been “taken out of context”.
Bolton, 54, whose relationship with Marney is under investigation by the party, said she had been suspended “immediately upon us receiving this information”.
The UKIP leader sent the message in reply to a young party member who urged him to publicly call for Marney to have her membership removed.
“She has to go or he and @UKIP are doomed if we let this behaviour happen in the party,” the teenage activist said.
Peter Whittle, leader of UKIP’s delegation in the London Assembly, also called for Marney to be “expelled altogether” for the “disgraceful remarks”.
Meanwhile former UKIP leadership candidate Ben Walker called for Bolton to quit, accusing him of having “deeply flawed judgement”.
Party chairman Paul Oakden said he decided to suspend Marney’s party membership immediately after he was made aware of the messages.
“UKIP does not, has not and never will condone racism,” he said.
The report of Marney’s use of highly offensive language about people from different ethnic backgrounds comes as Bolton faces an investigation into his controversial private life by senior party officials.
Bolton left wife Tatiana, 42, who gave birth to their second daughter at London’s St Pancras station in 2016 after going into labour on a train, prior to his relationship with Marney becoming public in early January.
The UKIP leader confirmed that he had a “change in my relationship status” in recent weeks, although denied reports that is had involved “a clandestine affair”.
He said he had already made clear on social media that he had recently been spending time “with somebody who has become increasingly important to me”.
He was accused on Twitter of being in Marney’s company when he appeared on television in mid-October.
He tweeted: “Utterly false! Photo taken by Gawain Towler (Ukip communications official). The woman just in shot is a BBC staffer.”
In a letter to members, Oakden said the National Executive Committee ruling body agreed to discuss the leader’s private life at a special meeting in January.
On her Twitter profile Marney describes herself as a model, actor and journalist, as well as a Brexiteer.
Bolton was elected UKIP leader last September.