The controversial Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom is to sit as an independent in the European Parliament after he was suspended for describing women as “sluts”. Mr Bloom, who has previous condemned aid to “bongo bongo land”, said he had felt for some time that Ukip was not “really right” for him.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he did not want to see Mr Bloom kicked out of the party, insisting he had not crossed the lines of racism or extremism – adding he was “sorry” that events had reached this stage.
A formal disciplinary hearing had been scheduled to determine Mr Bloom’s fate, but the MEP pre-empted the outcome with today’s statement. He said: “I have felt for some time now that the new Ukip is not really right for me anymore.
“However our message is clear: self government. Our wonderful and loyal membership will win through with their dedication and hard work. It has been a pleasure to work with them for 15 years.
“I shall sit out my term as an independent and give my wholehearted support to Jane Collins who is almost certainly going to be the next Ukip MEP and probably a second seat yet to be decided. I shall of course retain my membership.”
In a BBC interview, Mr Farage said he was “very sorry” at Mr Bloom’s departuture.
“He’s been with us for 15 years, he’s sat in the European Parliament since 2004, he absolutely 100 per cent believes in everything Ukip stands for and he’s been a good, loyal MEP for us. It’s a sorry state of affairs,” he said.