BOLTON AFFAIR: It’s About Honesty And Reliability
For me the issue is not about Henry Bolton’s private life.
Henry has told UKIP members that as a “national public figure” he is entitled to “a certain degree of privacy”. I agree, although in the light of these sentiments it seems odd that his new girlfriend, topless model Jo Marney, should publish Instagram selfies of the two of them huddled together in front of a Christmas tree on Boxing Day. Henry knows full well that publishing personal pictures on the internet does not help personal privacy.
The issue is, in fact, more about the party leader’s honesty and reliability.
During the leadership election campaign last summer and in full knowledge David Kurten’s political views and track record, Henry pledged that he would appoint David his deputy if he won the election. As the manager of David’s own leadership campaign, I realised this was a clever move: not only would David make an excellent deputy leader in the event that Henry won, but voters who found it difficult to choose between them could vote for Henry and get the two for the price of one.
A significant number of UKIP members took Henry at his word and gave him their vote.
Imagine my fury when, after his election as leader, Henry promptly reneged on his pledge and refused to appoint David. Clearly, his word was not his bond and he had misled UKIP voters.
Also during the leadership election campaign, Henry avoided publishing policies or a political manifest, but instead deliberately turned the spotlight on to himself. He promoted himself as a solid reliable capable married man with an enviable track record and quality endorsements, whose Russian wife for work reasons lived abroad with their two young children. His personal character and track record were to be his vote winners.
And so it proved. After the shambles and chaos of the Steven Woolfe, Diane James and Paul Nuttall era, UKIP members were yearning for a solid, sensible, decent person of substance (to paraphrase Nigel Farage) and Henry won the job.
Yet now, under pressure from the media uproar surrounding his new relationship, he tells us that he and his wife in fact separated in July – before the leadership election started.
If this is true, why did he deceive us during the leadership campaign?
If it is not true, why is he deceiving us now?
UKIP’s all-powerful National Executive Committee meets next Monday, 8th January. We need a leader of honesty, strength and substance. In my view, the NEC must hold Henry accountable for his unreliable behaviour and his broken pledges.