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Nigel Farage: UKIP's Henry Bolton can emulate Corbyn

Nigel Farage: UKIP's Henry Bolton can emulate Corbyn

UKIP leader Henry Bolton can emulate Jeremy Corbyn by winning over party members to keep his job, his predecessor Nigel Farage has claimed.

Mr Farage said his successor had shown “very bad judgement” in recent weeks amid allegations over his private life.

But he said UKIP’s National Executive Committee was full of “hopeless amateurs” holding the party back and Mr Bolton could “go round their back”.

Like Mr Corbyn, Mr Bolton must show he could “make big political arguments”.

Mr Bolton has insisted he will not resign as leader despite the party’s governing body passing a vote of no confidence in him and a string of frontbench colleagues quitting.

Mr Farage said it had been an “appalling few weeks” for Mr Bolton and the party since the married father of two confirmed he was dating 25-year old model Jo Marney and it subsequently emerged that, before the relationship started, she had sent a number of offensive text messages about Meghan Markle.

Mr Farage told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he had not decided whether to vote for Mr Bolton at the special meeting of party members to be held in the next month, which will decide his future.

‘Huge profile’

“If an EGM (extraordinary general meeting) was held tomorrow, Henry Bolton would lose it very heavily,” he said.

“Of that there is no question. But he has a month to make the case and he has the microphone because he now has a huge profile, maybe not for all the right reasons.

“If he is able, in the space of a month, to put together a new constitution and a new management structure that shows the leader needs to be able to lead and not be held back by a failed organisation, he may just win the day.”

There were parallels, he suggested, with Jeremy Corbyn’s fightback after Labour MPs overwhelmingly decided they did not have confidence in him after the Brexit referendum in 2016.

“The media, everyone, ‘thought it is over, Corbyn is finished’. But he managed to go round the back of the party leadership and straight to the members.”

Mr Farage said he had wanted to overhaul the party’s NEC himself and to transform UKIP into an “online political movement” based on Italy’s Five Star populist party but had “chickened out” to focus on Brexit.

Amid speculation he was considering setting up a new political force from scratch, he said this would be was “very difficult” for a variety of reasons.

He said UKIP had an “established brand” and, with the UK heading for “Brexit in name only”, a role to play going forward, but only if it changed the way it operated.

“If UKIP reforms, it can fight future battles which it may well be needed for. If it does not, it will die.”

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Source: BBC Politics

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