UKIP innovator Henry Bolton says he has finished his relationship with his girlfriend right after she reportedly made racist feedback about Meghan Markle.
He said their romance has been “obviously quite incompatible” with his head role but he had no purpose to quit.
Jo Marney had sent texts saying dark people were ugly and Prince Harry’s fiancee would “taint” the Regal Family.
UKIP’s chief said it “remains to be seen” whether Mr Bolton would remain as party leader.
Ms Marney has apologised for her remarks, which were reported within the Postal mail on Sunday , and stated they were taken out of context.
Mr Bolton, a former army official, took over as UKIP leader in Sept, becoming the party’s fourth head in 18 months.
He said it was against UKIP’s constitution “to be racist in a way”.
But older party members have questioned their judgement, calling his private living an “unhelpful distraction”.
MEP Bill Etheridge, which stood in the last leadership election, offers called on Mr Bolton to stop, saying he had “handled the situation appallingly badly”.
“Now he thinks by throwing the relationship with this young lady under the tour bus, he can save his skin, inch he told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show. “Frankly it is an additional example of this man not knowing exactly what he is doing. ”
Stark option – by the BBC’s Norman Cruz
Henry Bolton faced a stark choice. Possibly give up his girlfriend or quit his leadership. After a weekend taking into consideration his options, he chose the previous – saying “the romantic component of our relationship should end”.
Whether that will be adequate to safeguard Mr Bolton’s position since leader is less clear. A few senior figures in the party think since he became leader simply three months ago Mr Bolton is unsucssesful to make a mark or get a grasp of the party’s problems.
Quite apart from Mr Bolton’s position – he is UKIP’s 4th leader since the referendum – the particular party is facing mounting monetary pressure and a loss of members.
Above all it is desperate for a role for itself since the Brexit referendum.
Mr Bolton told BBC Morning meal Ms Marney’s “utterly indefensible” feedback were made “some time ago”.
While there was “some context to them” which will be uncovered in time, he added that simply no context “defends or justifies” a few of the comments, adding he was “appalled and shocked” when he initial heard them.
Mentioned the state of his marriage upon BBC Radio 4’s Today program, he said he and his spouse had lived “under the same roof” for about five of the 12 many years they had been together and had already been living apart since July whenever they reached a mutual decision that will she and their children should proceed to Austria where she is working.
“We are still married, we have been not legally separated at all… You will find tremendous respect for my wife. She actually is an outstanding mother to our children yet we have had difficulties. ”
Asked when he informed his wife about the relationship along with Ms Marney, he replied: “My wife did not know about it at that time it started. She knew 3 days into it. Jo Marney and am went out first on Boxing Time. I told my wife exactly what has been going on the 30th. ”
Mr Bolton, 54, stated the 25-year-old model had got her party membership suspended soon after the party found out about the comments and would support the outcome of an inner investigation.
The text messages were sent three weeks prior to the couple began their relationship, based on the Mail on Sunday. They verified their relationship in a letter in order to UKIP supporters earlier this 30 days.
Responding to criticism, Mister Bolton said certain individuals “should start working towards the betterment of the celebration itself, working as part of a group rather than coming up with divisive and personal interested comments”.
UKIP chairman Paul Oakden told BBC News lots of party members needed their say on what had occurred, and there would be a “process” with this over the next week.
“Whether or not at the end of that, Henry it’s still in a position that he wants to carry this particular forward with the support of the celebration remains to be seen. ”
Previous deputy leader Peter Whittle mentioned Mr Bolton faced a “crunch” meeting of the party’s NEC following weekend at which he would have to display he had the trust of celebration officials.
“It is an extremely big task, ” he informed Victoria Derbyshire. However , he stated a fresh leadership contest would be “a hell of a distraction” at a time once the focus should be on May’s nearby elections and seeing Brexit by means of.