Oxford University rejects Natasha Bolter's PPE degree claims as Roger Bird Ukip sex scandal rolls on

The former Labour activist turned Ukip candidate has accused the party’s general secretary of sexual harassment

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The Ukip sex scandal involving the party’s general secretary and a prominent female member took an unexpected turn last night after the University of Oxford spoke out to dismiss Natasha Bolter’s claim to have been a student there.

The former Labour activist had been due to stand for the party in South Basildon and East Thurrock, but withdrew her candidacy after accusing senior official Roger Bird of sexual harassment.

General secretary Roger Bird has insisted he was not a “predator” and that is he confident a full party inquiry will clear his name.

But now, in what has rapidly descended into a row of one person’s word against another, Ms Bolter’s credibility appears to have been dealt a major blow.

Roger Bird and Natasha Bolter, right as she was introduced at the party conference

When she was introduced – by Mr Bird himself – at the party’s conference in September, Ms Bolter was described as having received “five A-grade A levels and went on to read PPE at Wadham College, Oxford”.

At the time, Mr Bird said of the party’s new member’s education: “I was particularly pleased to hear this because it means I am no longer the only Oxford PPE-ist in Ukip – and Nigel will have to stop making jokes about PPE-ists.”

Speaking to the Telegraph last night, however, a spokesperson for the university said nobody matching Ms Bolter’s details had ever attended. It is believed to follow claims made by Ms Bolter in an unpublished interview with The Times.

“We've recently seen an interview transcript in which Natasha claimed to have attended Wadham,” the spokesperson said, “and can therefore confirm that Oxford University has no record of a Natasha Ahmed (Ms Bolter's maiden name) with a birthday of 12 July 1975 having attended Oxford.”

The scandal came as the latest in a long line highlighting Ukip’s image problem as an apparently male-dominated party.

Meanwhile Neil Hamilton, the former Tory MP parachuted in to replace Ms Bolter for the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat, has already been forced to stand down as well.

Now the Ukip deputy chairman, he claimed a “dirty tricks” campaign was being run against him after it emerged he had been asked to explain his expenses claims to the party’s finance committee.