Party’s new leader rescues Ukip from ‘far-Right’ oblivion
A FORMER Army officer was last night elected as the new leader of Ukip in a surprise result following a closely fought contest.
Henry Bolton, a close ally of former leader Nigel Farage, won with around 30 per cent of the 12,915 votes cast by members of the anti-EU party.
He beat off challenges from hardline anti-Islam campaigner Anne Marie Waters, who had been seen as the favourite, and deputy leader Peter Whittle to clinch the job.
After the results were announced Mr Farage said he was “delighted”. “He is a man of real substance,” the former leader added.
Mr Bolton’s victory was seen as the saviour of Ukip, with up to 18 of the party’s 20 MEPs threatening to quit if Ms Waters had won.
Mr Bolton recently warned that Ukip was in danger of becoming the “UK Nazi Party” if it chose a leader with far-Right views.
And the 54-year-old appealed for unity in his victory speech at the party’s annual conference in Torquay.
“Brexit is our core task, however, it is not the end of the line,” he told party members. “Without being united, we cannot lead.”
He added: “I do not see myself as simply being your leader – I see myself as serving this party.
“You are the party, not me, and this party needs to serve its country. There is no greater calling than that.
“I would call on all of you, whether you voted for me or not, to rally around the party, to be united.”
Speaking later Mr Bolton insisted he would not feel intimidated by following Mr Farage in the role.
He said: “I’m not Nigel, none of us are Nigel.
“Nigel is Nigel and I’m not going to try and fill his boots. I have my own style, I have my own personality and I think you will see that emerge. When I’m standing Nigel Farage said he was delighted with the result up on the platform then I’m quite firm in my approach. “But, actually, get me, like Nigel, in the bar with a beer and I like a laugh and a joke. I’m just as convivial as he is, I think.” The former Army captain and exThames Valley Police officer has previously been a Lib Dem and stood for the party against Philip Hammond in Runnymede at the 2005 general election. Mr Bolton describes himself as “an expert in borders, security and foreign policy”. After passing out of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst as best overall cadet, he served in the Army as an infantry officer. He was awarded an OBE by Princess Anne for services to international security in 2013. He has two children with wife Tatiana Smurova-Bolton, who last year gave birth to their daughter on a train that had just pulled into St Pancras Station.
Henry Bolton after his win yesterday