Ukip leader pictured with ex days after declaring their romance over
Henry Bolton said the 25-year-old model received death threats after her texts about Meghan Markle were exposed.
Ukip leader Henry Bolton has been photographed with former girlfriend Jo Marney in the bar of a London gentlemen’s club just days after declaring that their romance was over.
Their meeting came hours after Mr Bolton gave a press interview in which he accused political rivals in Ukip of exploiting his private life in an attempt to unseat him, but said he did not rule out getting back together with the 25-year-old model in the future.
Vowing to fight a challenge to his leadership, the former Army officer told the Daily Telegraph: “I have seen people die, I have seen people blown up, I have seen people shot. Even the Taliban doesn’t quite prepare you for Ukip though.”
Doorstepped outside the National Liberal Club by the Huffington Post, the Ukip leader said he met Ms Marney to discuss death threats she received after the publication of text messages in which she made disparaging comments about Prince Harry’s fiancee Meghan Markle.
He said that they were going back to their separate homes, but photographs obtained by the Guido Fawkes website showed them later in the evening at the railway station in Folkestone, where he lives.
An aide told the Press Association that Mr Bolton had explained that his former partner went back with him to pick up some bags before returning that evening to her home in Maidstone.
Mr Bolton later released a photograph of a local taxi company’s log to show that a cab had picked someone up from the address to go to the station.
🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/dZEs2gWXfO— Jo Marney (@Jo_Marney) January 3, 2018
Mr Bolton, 54, is expected to face a vote of no confidence at an emergency meeting of Ukip’s National Executive Committee in London on Sunday, called to discuss the controversy over his leadership.
He announced on Monday that the “romantic side” of his relationship with Ms Marney was over.
But he told the Telegraph that the affair was not a “flash in the pan” and that he did not rule out getting back together with her.
“I don’t rule it out, not at all,” said Mr Bolton, who said that the “thunderbolt” relationship began on Boxing Day, after a bust-up with wife Tatiana, with whom he had intended to spend Christmas in Vienna.
He returned to the UK alone after some “very difficult conversations” with his wife and was invited for a drink by Ms Marney, whom he had met at a Ukip event 10 days earlier.
“We talked about politics, we talked about immigration,” he said. “She struck me as being politically very aware with clear opinions. I found her company very pleasant in every regard. Our relationship started that day.”
He said that he “hadn’t been as happy for many years” as in the brief five-day period before their romance became public knowledge.
But he said Ms Marney’s life had been “turned on its head” by the exposure of text messages in which she called Ms Markle a “dumb little commoner” whose mixed-race background would “taint” the Royal Family.
While declaring himself “appalled” by the messages, he said he believed some of them had been “doctored” by political enemies.
He told the Huffington Post: “What’s happened is that a young woman has been effectively exploited by my political enemies who feel they can’t challenge me in open political debate on my leadership and on my politics.
“What I’d say to them is: You want to challenge my leadership, you want to challenge my politics, do it in an open forum, do it openly, do not do it covertly and exploit anybody in doing so because to do so is despicable, particularly the way they’ve gone about it.”
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage declined to comment on Mr Bolton’s difficulties, but acknowledged the party was going through a “tough time”.
Mr Farage told BBC News Channel: “What I’m worried about is that we are making big concessions on Brexit. What I’m worried about is that we face some knife-edge votes in the House of Commons and Lords.
“British politics needs Ukip to be stable and strong, and over the last year or more, it has been through a tough time.”