UK Politics

UKIP's Roger Bird to quit general secretary post

Roger Bird, Natasha Bolter Image copyright Other
Image caption Roger Bird faced a hearing over his relations with Natasha Bolter

UKIP has cleared its general secretary Roger Bird after a sexual harassment allegation but says he will leave his post early by mutual consent.

Mr Bird had faced a disciplinary hearing over his relations with former party candidate Natasha Bolter.

In a statement, UKIP said it found no evidence to support the allegation.

It added that Mr Bird, who had been suspended on full pay, would leave his job due to the "unfortunate publicity" surrounding Ms Bolter's complaint.

Ms Bolter accused Mr Bird of propositioning her after he oversaw her completion of an exam for prospective candidates.

He denied that version of events, claiming he had a "consensual relationship" with her.

'Keen supporter'

A disciplinary hearing was held earlier this month. UKIP said an independent HR consultancy had handled the inquiry.

The party said it accepted Mr Bird's statement that the relationship was consensual and agreed his actions "did not compromise the integrity of its candidate selection process".

It added: "Given the unfortunate publicity stimulated by media speculation, it has been mutually agreed to bring Mr Bird's fixed-term contract of employment to an earlier conclusion. The party would like to thank Mr Bird for his contribution and valued service over the past five months."

Mr Bird remains on the UKIP candidates list but will not now try to stand for Parliament.

He said: "I am very glad that the party has investigated and dismissed the allegations of sexual harassment and any impropriety regarding the selection of Ms Bolter as a candidate.

"I wish UKIP every success in the election campaign. I remain a member and keen supporter of the party and I will continue to make every effort to help our candidates to victory in May."

BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins said it would be fascinating to know what Ms Bolter made of the outcome.

He added that the "big political question" would be whether the "internal allegations and wrangling" would damage UKIP's general election prospects.

Ms Bolter declined to comment.

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