Wales politics

UKIP's Neil Hamilton demands party leader Henry Bolton resigns

Henry Bolton Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Henry Bolton has made himself into a "ludicrous figure", says Neil Hamilton

UKIP needs a collective leadership of its experienced figures, the party's leader in Wales Neil Hamilton has said.

He said UKIP leader Henry Bolton should go following a vote of no confidence by the party's national executive.

Mr Bolton has refused to step down amid an outcry over his then girlfriend's comments about Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle.

Mr Hamilton denied UKIP was in crisis, but said the party could learn from its "professional" Welsh Assembly group.

Deputy leader Margot Parker has resigned her position in protest at Mr Bolton's refusal to go.

He said he had ended the "romantic element" of his relationship with Jo Marney, who was accused of racism after she sent texts saying Ms Markle would "taint" the Royal Family.

Mr Bolton, who became leader of UKIP in September 2017, has said he would continue as leader despite Sunday's vote of no confidence in him.

"Of course he should go - it's a ridiculous situation to be in," Mr Hamilton told BBC Radio Wales.

"He's made himself into a ludicrous figure by his own poor judgement and he should get out of the way and allow us to get on with rebuilding the party."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption We're doing a professional job in the Welsh Assembly, Neil Hamilton said

Mr Hamilton called for a period of stability but insisted he did not want to be considered for the leadership.

"I've got a full time job leading the UKIP group in the Welsh Assembly," he said.

"We are the only Parliamentary force that UKIP has got - Wales is UKIP's shop window to the world.

"We're doing a professional job in the Welsh Assembly and I think the rest of the party needs to follow our lead."

'Party is not over'

He added: "I think what we need in UKIP now is more of a collective leadership.

"Nigel Farage was a massive, charismatic, dominating figure, and when he removed himself from the scene I think that left a vacuum which we've struggled to fill.

"Now, those of us who do have some experience in politics and life in general need to come together as a group to give a collective leadership to UKIP.

Mr Hamilton denied that calls for UKIP to change its leader for the fourth time in less than two years was evidence of a crisis.

"The party is not over because we fill a gap in the political spectrum that nobody else is going to fill," he said.

"We show that of course in Wales every day when the assembly is sitting."

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