Ed: we publish this press release in its original form, unredacted, as it came in to UKIP Daily a few moments ago:
PRESS RELEASE from UKIP Shadow Cabinet Culture & Arts Spokesman David Meacock:
UKIP Shadow Cabinet Culture & Arts Spokesman David Meacock has made a dramatic intervention in the ongoing UKIP Leadership saga by calling on Henry Bolton to resign by 6pm today, or be stripped of his UKIP membership.
Meacock refers to the UKIP Party Chairman’s generous proclamation on yesterday’s BBC’s Sunday Politics: that “I think it is very clear that Henry is increasingly in a position where he’s got some difficult decisions to make”, “Mr Bolton’s Edward VIII moment”: choose either his mistress or his crown.
Meacock explained: “I say ‘generous’ because in my view, however, this moment came as soon as the vile Social media posts exposed the type of person with whom Mr Bolton has voluntarily chosen to have a relationship, and so his Leadership of UKIP has been irretrievable for some days. The claim that they weren’t intended to be public doesn’t to my way of thinking change what they reveal about the author. I have stayed silent hoping that Mr Bolton could be persuaded by those closer to him than me to salvage a morsel of dignity by him deciding himself, in the words of others “to go quickly and quietly.”
But, last night Mr Bolton’s comments and actions at the Ashford railway station made it abundantly clear that without the actions I am calling for, this intolerable farce will continue for at least another week before the National Executive Committee meets on Sunday.
Further evidence of his complete lack of judgement is that incredulously Mr Bolton still thinks he can continue any association with Jo Marney, as Leader, despite her membership of UKIP having been suspended. He appears oblivious to the fact that being associated not even just as a casual acquaintance, but “in a [self-proclaimed] new relationship”, and proposing (by only ending the romantic aspect) an ongoing association with such a person has brought UKIP and the position of Leader into utter disrepute on a daily basis for the past 10 days and will continue to do so. Just as we were all beginning to recover from the horror of the revelation of one vile Jo Marney Social Media post, another even more poisonous has made further headlines: inhumane comments about the Grenfell Tower fire victims/survivors; then gross and physiologically inaccurate views on reproduction; followed by overtly racist and hurtful comments about Prince Harry’s fiancée Meghan Markle; and now, to cap it all, joking about the sexual abuse of babies.
This morning he has indicated that more is to be revealed about the context of these posts, so the saga will continue. What next?
What was required was an assurance of complete disassociation henceforth, together with a sincerely contrite and fulsome apology to UKIP members for his misjudgement.
This has been and will continue to be so destructive to UKIP that if ever there was a time for the Chairman to exercise his UKIP Constitution Emergency powers – quoted below – this is now it.
I therefore call on Mr Bolton to resign by 6pm today, Monday 15 January 2018. Should he fail to do so, the Chairman must invoke his Constitutional Emergency Powers and permanently expel both Mr Bolton and Jo Marney with immediate effect thereafter, as this drip-drip destruction of UKIP and our collective ability to hold the government’s feet to the fire as the only true Party of Brexit cannot be allowed to continue any longer. It needs to be decisively finished, and fast.
As UKIP seeks to broaden its political agenda and appeal, standing for election at any level with Mr Bolton as Leader after all this would, as I cannot better the analogy, be ‘rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease only for them to find, the moment the first balls are bowled, that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain.’
Should Mr Bolton remain as Leader, I will be resigning my position as Culture & Arts Spokesman in due course as I will not wish to be associated with him after all this.
The time has come for others in the UKIP Shadow Cabinet who have, like me, so far been silent, to tell us their response: let voters see whether you’re principled (wo)men of steel willing to stand up and be counted, or feeble yes-(wo)men, blown about in the wind like straw.
Given the UKIP Constitution is silent on what happens if a Leader stands down within 6 months of election, I call on the NEC to follow the international precedent of the Olympic Committee – who have passed medals down when a medal winner has been subsequently disqualified as a drugs cheat – and start a deep due diligence process with a view to then appointing a new Leader. I would suggest David Kurten be given first refusal in this process, being the top contender in the recent Leadership election of those still in UKIP – especially as had Mr Bolton kept his Leadership Hustings promise, David Kurten would have already been appointed as Deputy Leader. Whoever the NEC would appoint as Leader would have their leadership ratified by members voting in favour of the Constitution being retrospectively so amended at the September 2018 Annual Conference. While no more ideal than an Olympic medallist receiving their medal on their door mat as opposed to basking in the glory of a public medal ceremony, this would be the fairest, quickest and least expensive pragmatic way of stabilising UKIP to once again fully focus on and participate in the debate about our country’s exciting future outside of the EU – particularly with talk in some quarters of the unthinkable: that Brexit could be reversed.”
UKIP Constitution Chairman’s Emergency powers:
11.9 In cases of exceptional gravity and urgency the Party Chairman may, of his own motion, exercise any of the powers set out in Article 11.5 except that under 11.5 (f) above [expel the Respondent Member from membership for a specified period or permanently] in respect of any member, with due regard to proportionality. The Party Chairman shall, within twenty-four hours of so acting, notify the Party Secretary of his action.
11.10 Upon being so notified the Party Secretary shall convene as soon as possible an Emergency Disciplinary Panel composed of himself (or an independent chairman appointed in accordance with the rules made under Article 11.7 and 11.8) and not more than two voting members of the NEC.