Henry Bolton sacked as Ukip leader after party backs no confidence vote

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

Henry Bolton has been sacked as leader of Ukip after party members backed a no confidence motion in him.

Mr Bolton lost the leadership after the motion was backed by 867 to 500 votes at an extraordinary general meeting in Birmingham on Saturday.

The vote means the party is now looking for its fifth leader in two years. Mr Bolton was forced out after only being elected in September last year.

He had attempted to cling on to the leadership despite a revolt by several senior figures in the party in protest at a series of racist messages his partner Jo Marney sent to a friend about Prince Harry's fiancée Meghan Markle.

Speaking after being sacked, Mr Bolton told ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand that Ukip may come to regret sacking him and while he wished his successor good luck, he believes the party has "taken itself off the battlefield" of the Brexit debate.

Mr Bolton said he has "got a number of options, politically" about what he will do next and that he will consider them in the coming days. He would not be drawn on whether one of those options is setting up a new political party.

Asked whether he will get back with Ms Marney, Mr Bolton said: "Let's see what the future brings. There is an awful lot in my private life that I need to sort out now."

  • What will Henry Bolton do next after being sacked? Watch the full interview

He criticised those in the party who focused on his relationship with Ms Marney. "There are huge challenges of national and international importance and people are wondering about whether or not I'm dating somebody and whether or not I've sent a Valentine's card to somebody", he said.

Speaking after Mr Bolton was ousted, Jo Marney tweeted: "Pffft. Bunch of muppets. My love for Henry is unconditional of political leaderships. I ain't going anywhere."

Outgoing Ukip chairman Paul Oakden said "Henry Bolton has been removed by the democratic decision of the membership".

Gerard Batten, London MEP for Ukip, was announced as the party's interim leader, with a leadership election due to take place within 90 days. He said Ukip's membership had made the right decision to sack Henry Bolton.

We have had many crises in Ukip and I think this one today was about whether we have a future or not," he said.

He told his fellow members: "I believe that you have made the best decision that you could in the circumstances."

Senior Ukip figure Suzanne Evans told ITV News after the vote that former leader Nigel Farage should "take the reins" and lead the party again - and that if he does not want to do it, she may run for the leadership herself.