Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Front Page - By Jodie Nes­ling jnes­[email protected]­m­ @jo­di­enes­ling

A for­mer Can­ter­bury stu­dent dumped by Ukip leader Henry Bolton amid a race row has de­fended him against wide­spread calls for him to step down.

Jo Mar­ney – who stud­ied jour­nal­ism at Can­ter­bury Christ Church Univer­sity – started dat­ing the politi­cian af­ter he split from his wife last year.

But Mr Bolton ended the re­la­tion­ship on Sun­day af­ter it emerged Miss Mar­ney had made racist re­marks in a string of texts sent to a friend.

De­spite be­ing cast aside, Miss Mar­ney says she does not hold Mr Bolton’s de­ci­sion against him as he fights to save his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

Speak­ing ex­clu­sively to the Ken­tish Gazette she said: “I don’t have a bad word to say about Henry. I still think he’s the per­fect gen­tle­man.”

Miss Mar­ney – who at 25 is less than half Mr Bolton’s age – was at the cen­tre of rev­e­la­tions in the Mail on Sun­day this week af­ter it emerged she made racist re­marks about Prince Harry’s fi­ancee Me­gan Markle.

In text mes­sages sent to a male friend in May, she wrote that Miss Markle will “taint” the Royal Fam­ily with “her seed” and pave the way for a “black king”.

Miss Mar­ney also de­scribed Miss Markle, whose mother is black and whose fa­ther is white, as a “dumb lit­tle com­moner” who is “ob­sessed with race”.

Af­ter her friend ac­cused her of be­ing racist, she wrote: “Lol so what... Not want­ing other races and cul­tures to in­vade your own cul­ture doesn’t mean I hate their race. Just means I don’t want their cul­tures in­vad­ing mine.”

When she was con­fronted about the texts, Miss Mar­ney – who has been sus­pended by Ukip – apol­o­gised and claimed her com­ments had been taken out of con­text. In a state­ment, she said: “I apol­o­gise un­re­servedly for the shock­ing lan­guage I used.

“The opin­ions I ex­pressed were de­lib­er­ately ex­ag­ger­ated in or­der to make a point and have, to an ex­tent, been taken out of con­text. Yet I fully recog­nise the of­fence they have caused.

“No of­fence was in­tended and, again, I apol­o­gise un­re­servedly for any such of­fence or hurt that my mes­sages have caused to mem­bers of the public, mem­bers of Ukip, my friends, fam­ily and loved ones.”

“I have dis­ap­pointed them all and let my­self down. I can­not suf­fi­ciently ex­press my re­gret and sad­ness at hav­ing done so.”

She also clar­i­fied her po­lit­i­cal po­si­tion, telling the Gazette yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day): “De­spite my sus­pen­sion, my po­lit­i­cal loy­alty re­mains with Ukip.” Mr Bolton is due to face a crunch meet­ing with the party’s rul­ing Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee to­day (Thurs­day). If ousted, it would leave the party hav­ing to elect its fifth leader in 18 months.

Can­ter­bury Ukip coun­cil­lor David Hirst has urged Mr Bolton to step down, claim­ing his in­tegrity is in tat­ters,

“He will have to be re­moved soon­est,” he said.

“I had high hopes for him, but sadly he can­not re­cover. He is fin­ished. It is mainly to do with in­tegrity. He is a gen­tle­man but has dis­played in­cred­i­bly poor judge­ment.

“We are be­tween a rock and a hard place, but I doubt he will step down as party leader. I am very an­noyed.”

What do you think? Email ken­[email protected]­m­

Jo Mar­ney with for­mer boyfriend Ukip leader Henry Bolton

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