Farage in talks about 'cross-party' campaign for hard Brexit as Ukip leader faces axe

A crunch Ukip meeting on Sunday will decide the future of its current leader Henry Bolton 

Joe Watts
Political Editor
@JoeWatts_
Sunday 21 January 2018 10:02
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Nigel Farage and Arron Banks (r) were reported to be planning a "Ukip 2.0"
Nigel Farage and Arron Banks (r) were reported to be planning a "Ukip 2.0"

Nigel Farage has said he has held talks about new anti-Brexit campaign groups, but said the idea of a Ukip successor party was not yet “on his radar”.

The former Ukip-leader told The Independent he had been discussing a “cross-party” effort to try and increase pressure for a hard Brexit.

It follows reports that he and Vote Leave donor Arron Banks have been planning a successor party if a crunch meeting on Sunday leads to the collapse of Ukip.

Nigel Farage thinks there should be a second referendum

The party’s national executive committee (NEC) will decide on whether current leader Henry Bolton should continue, following a scandal related to the break up of his marriage, new younger girlfriend and racist text messages she allegedly sent.

An unnamed source was quoted in Sunday papers saying discussions had been held about “Ukip 2.0” which would be chaired by Mr Banks, while Mr Farage could become president.

Mr Farage said: “In terms of a Ukip 2.0, I have not thought about it all, it has not been on my radar.

“There have been some talks about cross-party efforts and campaign groups, but I’ve not thought about a new party.”

Mr Bolton, 54, faces a meeting today to decide his future in the wake of revelations that his lover Jo Marney sent racist messages about Meghan Markle.

But Mr Farage’s allies are said to believe that if Mr Bolton is forced out, it will trigger the collapse of the party, which is heavily in debt and not thought to be in a position to afford a new leadership contest.

Mr Farage said: “The NEC have a big decision to make. If the party is faced with another leadership contest, that is difficult. It’s a big, big decision. I’m glad I’m not taking it.

Henry Bolton with Jo Marney in December

“They have got to decide whether he has brought the party into disrepute.”

Ms Marney was suspended from the party for sending messages saying that Prince Harry’s fiancee would ‘taint’ the Royals with her ‘seed’ and pave the way for a ‘black king’.

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In response, Mr Bolton claimed to have ended the ‘romantic’ side of the relationship only to then be spotted enjoying a dinner with Ms Marney.

If Mr Bolton goes, the party will have to find its fifth leader in 18 months.

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