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    Henry Bolton, who has been elected as the new party leader of Britain's UK Independence Party speaks during the UKIP National Conference in Torquay England Friday Sept. 29, 2017

    UKIP Leader Uses Racist Scandal to Distract Public From His Brexit Flaws – MEP

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    UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge spoke to Sputnik about his views on the party’s future, its reputation and "weak" leadership amid an unfolding scandal around leader Henry Bolton girlfriend's reported racist remarks toward Prince Harry's fiancée Meghan Markle.

    Sputnik: Mr Bolton has terminated the relationship with Marney, and does not condone the messages she had sent in the texts- is this enough for him to retain his position as leader of UKIP?

    Bill Etheridge: No, it's a cynical ploy to try and deflect the whole issue onto the silly comments of one young lady. Who frankly is nothing to do with the leadership of UKIP anyway. Henry has been an ineffectual and weak leader from day 1. His inability to handle this situation correctly, leading to weeks and weeks of poor media coverage, while we're trying to campaign on the streets for Brexit, is absolutely indefensible. His efforts to move the blame onto his, now, ex- girlfriend, are frankly pathetic and cynical in the extreme.

    READ MORE: Take Me Back, UKIP Leader Girlfriend Pleads After Romance Ended Over Racist Rant

    Sputnik: What is the future of UKIP post-independence referendum, is there still a need for it?

    Bill Etheridge: Well there is no Brexit at present. We won a referendum, which was merely a skirmish in the longer term war. The Brexit, itself, which is being pursued by Theresa May and her government, is a sell out to the EU. Where basically, we will have all of the EU powers over us still, but we'll have no say in the matter. Frankly UKIP is more relevant than ever, and the public need us to get organized and get out there, representing their views and fight for the Brexit we voted for.

    Sputnik: Have you seen any change in support for the party?

    Bill Etheridge: Quite frankly, the supporters are frustrated, that we're wasting out time, with resources being spent on the personal life of our leader. Rather than getting out there and campaigning for Brexit. I understand that frustration and I share it. That's why I've been so vocal on this matter. This man needs to go, and allow us to get on with representing the British public the way they expect us to.

    Sputnik: What kind of reputational damage will this do to UKIP as a party? Considering the old saying- ‘even bad press is good press’?

    Bill Etheridge: If we resolve the matter very swiftly, which I believe we will, we move on from this- and this won't even be chip paper in a week- we can get on with the real issues that affect the British people. But if it's allowed to drag on, and he clings onto power with his ego, I'm afraid it will damage us badly. So I'm going to make it in my interest to ensure he doesn't remain in place.

    Sputnik: What do you say to allegations that UKIP is a racist party?

    Bill Etheridge: They're absolute nonsense, but they're obviously fed by the silly comments of this young lady, but frankly, we are far from a racist party, and I personally stand against all forms of racism. I believe that if you are a British citizen, and you love our country, it doesn't matter what background you are, as long as you're patriotic to our country, I stand with you.

    READ MORE: UKIP Leader Refuses to Stand Down Over Ex-Girlfriend's Racist Remarks

    Sputnik: Are you going to put yourself up as a leadership candidate if Bolton does step down?

    Bill Etheridge: I have a continuous line on this. If there is someone who I think is in a better place to support, I will support them. if there is no one in a better place than me, then I will take on the role. At the moment, let’s just wait and see what happens, the main thing is that we get strong and solid leadership for our party.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    girlfriend, resignation, UK Independence Party (UKIP), Henry Bolton, United Kingdom
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