UKIP leader Henry Bolton has ended his relationship with girlfriend Jo Marney after it was reported she made racist remarks about Meghan Markle.
Bolton - who became leader in September - said this morning that the couple’s relationship was “obviously quite incompatible” with his role as head of the party.
The 54-year-old told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme: “It is against the constitution for the party to be racist in any way.”
“As of last night, the romantic part of our relationship has ended,” he continued, adding that he would continue to support Marney’s family as his former partner was “absolutely distraught” by the incident.
According to the Mail on Sunday, 25-year-old Marney sent a series of messages to a friend in which she made highly offensive comments about Prince Harry’s fiancee and black people.
In the texts, Marney reportedly said Markle would “taint” the Royal Family, that she had a “tiny brain” and that black people were ugly.
In a statement to the paper, Marney said she apologised “unreservedly” for the “shocking language” used in the messages, but said they had been “taken out of context”.
She said: “The opinions I expressed were deliberately exaggerated in order to make a point and have, to an extent, been taken out of context. Yet I fully recognise the offence they have caused.”
Despite insisting that he does not defend his former partner’s comments “whatsoever”, calling the language “appalling”, Bolton said this morning that the messages did not reflect Marney’s views.
“They were made at the height of an online argument between her and somebody else on Facebook through direct messaging,” he said.
“I’ve seen one of them, the broader content has been taken out of context.”
Model Marney was suspended from UKIP on Sunday over her comments. Some members also called for Bolton to resign as leader, accusing him of having “deeply flawed judgement”.