UKIP chair to step down after leadership vote

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The chairman of UKIP is to kinky gradually down after overseeing next Saturday’s vote on the future of kingpin Henry Bolton.

Paul Oakden said he had intended to step down most recent autumn, but agreed to stay on for a short time at Mr Bolton’s request after his choosing.

UKIP members will decide whether to back or sack Mr Bolton heed criticisms of his private life.

Mr Oakden said he had «absolute faith» in associates to do what was right to protect the party’s long-term future.

Mr Bolton irremediable a vote of confidence by the party’s National Executive Committee last month after it emerged that his confederate, Jo Marney, had sent offensive texts about Meghan Markle, who is to fuse Prince Harry in May.

Mr Bolton’s political fate will now be decided by the exponent’s members at an extraordinary general meeting in Birmingham.

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Bolton indicated he was still in a relationship with Ms Marney and rejected suggestions his leadership was done with, despite a wave of resignations from his frontbench team in recent weeks.

In a line to UKIP supporters, Mr Oakden said now was the «right time» to go.

But he insisted it had nothing to do with next Saturday’s against, saying he was required to remain «impartial» in the leadership process and would keep up to serve the party.

«I have made this decision irrespective of the aftermath of the EGM and I’m announcing it now to ensure that it remains absolutely unconnected to whatever republican decision the membership may take on Saturday,» he said.

Mr Bolton, UKIP’s fourth accessory leader in about 18 months, has suggested he will overhaul the NEC if he inclines Saturday’s vote, as part of efforts to professionalise the party.

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