UK party sacks leader in fallout from racist Markle texts

Henry Bolton, the leader of UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) gives a statement in Folkestone, Britain, in this January 22, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 February 2018
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UK party sacks leader in fallout from racist Markle texts

LONDON: The troubled UK Independence Party has ousted its leader after a scandal over racist messages sent by his girlfriend.
Party members voted Saturday to back a motion of no confidence in Henry Bolton. The UKIP party leader had faced growing pressure to resign since a newspaper in mid-January published racist text messages about Prince Harry’s fiancee, Meghan Markle, sent by his girlfriend, 25-year-old Jo Marney.
Marney, who was also a UKIP member, was suspended immediately.
The right-wing, euroskeptic party played a key role in campaigning for Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, but it has struggled to maintain its prominence and failed to win any Parliament seats during last year’s election.
Bolton was its fourth leader since 2016, and the move now leaves the party in further uncertainty.


Version of PM May’s deal can get through parliament: Hunt

Updated 15 December 2018
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Version of PM May’s deal can get through parliament: Hunt

  • May pulled a vote on her deal this week after acknowledging it would be heavily defeated over concerns about the divorce agreement’s “backstop”

LONDON: Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Saturday that the British parliament could back Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal if lawmakers received assurances from the European Union, but warned that a no deal Brexit was still on the table.
May pulled a vote on her deal this week after acknowledging it would be heavily defeated over concerns about the divorce agreement’s “backstop,” an insurance policy designed to avoid any hard land border for Ireland but which critics say could bind Britain to EU rules indefinitely.
“When the dust has settled, the only way we’re going to get this through the House of Commons ... is to have a version of the deal that the government has negotiated,” Hunt told BBC radio.
Following a summit in Brussels on Friday, May said it was possible that the EU could give further guarantees that the backstop would be temporary although the bloc’s other 27 leaders told her they would not renegotiate the treaty.
Hunt said the EU was likely to make concessions to avoid Britain leaving without any deal, a scenario that both sides say would be highly damaging for business and their economies.
“The EU cannot be sure that if they choose not to be helpful and flexible ... that we would not end up with no deal,” Hunt said. “We cannot in these negotiations take no deal off the table. I don’t think the EU could be remotely sure that if we don’t find a way through this we wouldn’t end up with no deal.”
The Times newspaper reported on Saturday that most of May’s senior ministerial team thought her deal was dead and were discussing a range of options including a second referendum.
“Brexit is in danger of getting stuck – and that is something that should worry us all,” pensions minister Amber Rudd wrote in the Daily Mail newspaper.
“If MPs (lawmakers) dig in against the Prime Minister’s deal and then hunker down in their different corners, none with a majority, the country will face serious trouble.”