The leader of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), Henry Bolton, has broken things off with his 25-year-old model/journalist girlfriend Jo Marney after messages published by The Daily Mail revealed racist comments about royal-to-be Meghan Markle.
Marney wrote in a series of messages that Markle, who is biracial, will “taint” the royal family. She also called her a “dumb little commoner” and continued on to say, “This is Britain, not Africa.”
When the person Marney was conversing with implied that she was racist, Marney said, “lol so what.”
You can access the full messages on The Daily Mail.
“I don’t defend these comments whatsoever,” Bolton, 54, said on “Good Morning Britain” Monday. “As of last night the romantic side of our relationship is ended.”
“At the moment, it is obviously quite incompatible to continue the relationship,” he stated, adding that he’s “going to be continuing to support her family because Jo is absolutely distraught by this.”
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 15, 2018
On Sunday, Marney told The Daily Mail that she was sorry for the “reckless and unnecessary” comments and added that they were “taken completely out of context.”
Regarding the messages, which were reportedly sent three weeks before Marney started a relationship with Bolton, the UKIP leader told Sky News that they were “never meant to be in the public eye. She wasn’t hiding them, but they were part of a direct message exchange with somebody else.”
“When I saw them, I was appalled,” Bolton continued. “She’s a member of the party … and she has never, never expressed her views in such a way that she did in those messages.”
Bolton is reportedly not legally separated from his wife Tatiana, and he told BBC that she knew about the relationship with Marney three days into it. The relationship only reportedly started in December, as Bolton told “Good Morning Britain” that the two had only just met at a UKIP lunch on the 16th of December. Bolton went on to say that he split from his wife before Christmas, just after he met Marney, which he describes as “pure coincidence.”
— Jo Marney (@Jo_Marney) December 16, 2017
However, Bolton’s wife said in a statement read on “Good Morning Britain” that she was unaware of the relationship. “When you’ve been with someone for so long, have supported him through so much, and have always been there for him, you feel so betrayed on every single level. What makes it worse is the lies. He told journalists his wife is fully aware of what’s been going on — no, I am not.”
Party chairman Paul Oakden told The Daily Mail that he suspended Marney’s UKIP membership after he was made aware of the messages, stating, “UKIP does not, has not and never will condone racism.”
In response to a Twitter user Monday morning who showed support for her, Marney wrote, “Many thanks for your kind words. We all make mistakes. It’s how you deal with those mistakes and conduct yourself in the future that matters.”
Many thanks for your kind words. We all make mistakes. It’s how you deal with those mistakes and conduct yourself in the future that matters. ✌️
— Jo Marney (@Jo_Marney) January 15, 2018
Call for resignation
Bill Etheridge, a UKIP Member of European Parliament for the West Midlands region, tweeted he was resigning from Bolton’s “spokesman team” and was “calling for UKIP members to petition” for his removal. On Sunday he also called on Bolton himself to resign.
I am resigning as a member of Henry Bolton’s spokesman team and calling for #UKIP members to petition the NEC for his removal
— Bill Etheridge (@Billukip) January 15, 2018
Bolton was the fourth leader in a year to be appointed head of UKIP, reports Reuters.
Bolton told “Good Morning Britain” that he is not intending to resign “at all.”
“This will be in question of the party, so it’s up to the party what happens in relation to my leadership, but I’m not going to resign,” Bolton continued.
UKIP’s National Executive Committee has reportedly decided to meet this week to discuss Bolton’s fate as a leader.
Markle, past race issues
This wasn’t the first time Markle faced racism in the public eye in regards to her impending role as a member of the royal family. As Huffington Post pointed out, Princess Michael of Kent, 72, wore a brooch “featuring a miniature bust of an African woman” to the Queen’s annual Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace this year. Markle, who was reportedly meeting extended members of the royal family for the first time, was also in attendence.
Princess Michael, wife to the Queen’s first cousin, appeared to be wearing “blackamoor” jewelry, which PEOPLE reported is a “genre of art or jewelry originating in 16th century Venice that has been criticized for promoting imagery that is considered racist.”
A spokesperson for the princess issued an apology, stating, “The brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before. Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offense.”
Back in November 2016, the Kensington Palace official Twitter account posted a statement detailing harassment that Markle faced after her relationship with Prince Harry was confirmed that month. Part of the statement read:
“… Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public — the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments. Some of it has been hidden from the public — the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by papers to her ex-boyfriend; the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life.”
Kensington Palace has issued a statement this morning about the harassment currently being experienced by Meghan Markle and her family. pic.twitter.com/EuFZ4fmUIj
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 8, 2016
In an interview with BBC after the couple announced their engagement, Markle addressed the racist responses to their relationship. “At the end of the day I’m really just proud of who I am and where I come from, and we have never put any focus on that,” she stated. “We’ve just focused on who we are as a couple.”