This story is over 5 years old.


British far-right leader drops girlfriend over racist Meghan Markle texts

“This is Britain, not Africa.”

The leader of a British right-wing populist party dumped his girlfriend Monday after her racist comments about Prince Harry’s fiancée Meghan Markle were made public.

Henry Bolton, leader of the anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party, faced calls from fellow party members to stand down after text messages sent by Jo Marney surfaced in a British newspaper Saturday.

In the messages, Marney – a 25-year-old model and UKIP activist – called black people “ugly,” used the term “negro,” and wrote that Markle, who has African-American ancestry, would “taint our royal family.” “This is Britain, not Africa,” she wrote.


Bolton, who only became leader three months ago, told the BBC Monday he had broken up with Marney, but had no intention of resigning.

“The romantic element of the relationship is over, I’m afraid, as of last night,” said the 54-year-old, describing her comments as indefensible.

Bolton added that he did not believe the texts reflected Marney’s “core beliefs,” and said he intended to provide her support to weather the scandal. “I’m going to stand by her and the family in terms of trying to put her life back together. This is not a cold parting of the ways.”

Bolton was already under pressure from his party over the relationship, which began a month ago, behind the back of his wife and two young children. Marney was suspended from UKIP over the remarks.

Formerly led by Nigel Farage, UKIP has been a disruptive presence in British politics over the past decade, its influence outstripping its meagre parliamentary presence (the party currently has no seats in the House of Commons, and just three in the House of Lords.) Questions remain whether the party still has a reason to exist following the vote to leave the EU.

UKIP has been through five changes of leadership since 2016, and with Bolton facing an investigation by the national executive it could soon be due for another.

“He thinks by throwing a relationship with this young lady under the bus, he can save his skin," Bill Etheridge, a UKIP Member of the European Parliament, told the BBC. “Frankly it is another example of this man not knowing what he is doing.”