UKIP CRISIS: Farage Being Questioned Over Bolton Love Life Shows How Damaging The New Leader Is
Having to justify his successor’s behaviour is probably not the sort of question Mr Farage wanted to answer as he left his meeting with the EU’s chief negotiator in Brussels this morning. Having spent the last week asking listeners to his LBC show what he should ask the Frenchman, as he became the first real Brexiteer to have an interview with the man who has met with Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Nick Clegg, Farage was in fine fettle as he declared he was off to represent “the 17.4 million who voted for Brexit.”
Yet the story following this event, which was, without doubt, a coup for ‘Mr Brexit’, instead focused on the diminutive former TA officer and his latest squeeze as the headline ran: ‘At least he’s being talked about now’.
In his missive to the party faithful on the eve of the exclusive in The Sun about his new relationship, Henry Bolton told members that the story ‘in no way distracts me or our party from the vital mission we have ahead of us.’
He went on, ‘UKIP has a vital role to play, in particular in keeping Brexit on track and fighting for free speech…and UKIP must exert all its influence in that process.’
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Yet the biggest coup in many months for the party which has been floundering since Leave won the EU referendum, has instead been bumped down the listings for Nige’s views on Bolton and his never knowingly overdressed girlfriend of two weeks.
“It’s very, very difficult to get voted for if nobody has ever heard of you before,” Farage said in Brussels after the 40-minute meeting with Michel Barnier.
Quite: this is why many people were scratching their heads at Farage’s decision to provide a political reference to the former Lib Dem and Brussels bureaucrat who only joined the party in 2014.
“It’s up to him what he does,” added Farage, who of course has also recently split from his wife – although not by text message at Christmas as Mr Bolton is alleged to have done.
He couldn’t really say much else given his own colourful past.
I know from bitter experience is that these kinds of questions never go away once they have emerged. Henry Bolton’s next few interviews on tv and radio, should he get any, will be about this story. And the same will go for any other UKIP representative in the media and, no doubt, when they face the public on the campaign trail.
As the comments from the public and from party members demonstrate, questions have been raised about Bolton Wanderer’s trustworthiness as a person if he can behave in the manner which has been reported.
He might be a “likeable” chap according to Nigel but for most people what they will see is a middle-aged politician who abandoned his young family as they were getting ready for Christmas and then flaunted his new relationship with a 25-year-old over his social media.
In her resignation to Mr Bolton, which she cheekily sent in a text message, former disabilities spokeswoman Cllr Star Anderton said she could not;
“in all conscience campaign for you (Bolton).”
“Your tawdry affair with a girl young enough to be your daughter is bad enough but to subject your wife and children to this sort of public humiliation is simply disgraceful.
You’re not the man you portrayed yourself to be and I’ve been in your wife’s shoes so I’m aware of how much she is hurting.”
A current councillor UKIP councillor, something of an endangered species now, was also damning about his Party’s leader. “He comes across as very shallow, all words and no action,” he said. “He might have said he was squeaky clean with no skeletons but the reality is the wardrobe is full of them.”
Time will tell if Mr Bolton will ride out this current crisis but the question is, how much time does the party have left with such political inaction bar a sex scandal which even Farage looks uncomfortable talking about?