UKIP chief Henry Bolton hit by a number of resignations

After being spotted together enjoying drinks in Leicester Square with Ms Marney many Ukip members are suspicious of Mr Bolton's insistence despite this week insisting he had ended their relationship to concentrate on politics

Speaking outside a hotel in Kent, Bolton said: "Yesterday the UKIP National Executive Committee (NEC) made a decision to initiate and embark upon a constitutional course to remove me as leader of the Party".

He said he had ended the "romantic element" of his relationship with girlfriend Jo Marney after she sent texts saying Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle would "taint" the Royal Family, leading to accusations of racism.

Deputy leader Margot Parker, who is an East Midlands MEP, said Mr Bolton's "personal life took over the job he was elected to do".

He said Bolton had become embroiled in "an nearly farcical scandal" saying Ukip was "now in the preposterous situation of the leader's private life being of more interest than the party".

Calling for "cohesion" in Ukip and rather than focusing on the leadership debate, Mr Bolton urged the Party to "concentrate on such matters as the local government election campaign and the necessity of mobilising our efforts to ensure the government delivers true independence in all areas of government and administration when we leave the European Union".

However, the 53-year-old UKIP leader is resisting the pressure to quit his post.

Mr Bolton has faced repeated calls to quit over offensive texts sent by his former girlfriend.

Mr Bolton, who became leader of UKIP in September 2017, said he would defy the NEC and continue as leader, as a contest would finish the party. "It is time to 'Drain the Swamp, '" Bolton said. Bolton claimed he had broken up with Marney, but n tabloids photographed m dining toger.

'He should now resign from Ukip immediately so we can get on with rebuilding the party without further distraction.

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As far as Bolton is concerned, "the committee does not have the power to remove him - that can only be done by a vote of the party's membership", says the BBC News website.

The departure of charismatic leader plunged party into a freakish succession of internal fights that, on one occasion, came to hands, with a candidate hospitalized after being knocked down in European Parliament's quarters for a punch by a fellow of rows.

He described the NEC as "unfit for purpose" - claiming it had lost the confidence of a large proportion of Ukip members - and called for "significant and urgent reform".

"To that end, again during the coming weeks, I shall be proposing a new Party constitution, with a newly constituted and reformed NEC".

Under the leadership of MEP Nigel Farage, UKIP managed to gather 12.6 percent of the vote in the 2015 general election, making it a force to reckon with in British politics.

"In a single phrase, it is time to "drain the swamp".

Sked, emeritus professor of worldwide history at London School of Economics, also lashed out at Ukip for "lacking all political credibility".

If the former army officer were to step down it would leave UKIP seeking its fifth leader in 18 months.

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