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UKIP’s Kent Pcc Candidate Henry Bolton Considering Party Leadership Bid

14 July 2017

Ukip’s candidate in last year’s Kent police and crime commissioner election admits he is strongly considering launching a bid for leadership of the party.

Henry Bolton, who lost out to Conservative Matthew Scott in the race for the £85,000-a-year role last May, is confident he can lead Ukip through what is proving to be a difficult period.

Paul Nuttall stepped down from the head of the party following a disastrous general election in which it failed to win a single seat, and an equally bad Kent County Council election, in which its representation at County Hall was completely wiped out.

Thanet District Council leader Chris Wells told us last week he is “still pondering” whether to run after previous leader Nigel Farage backed out, and Mr Bolton, who has previously worked alongisde the United Nations and the White House, is also weighing up his options.

“There’s no decision yet, I am going to be having some conversations over the coming days,” he told us.

“I’ve considered it for a while, we all know that the state of affairs in the party is not good - there are a lot of different tensions and the result in the election was pretty poor.

“There are two questions. One is, if I stand, is there a reasonable chance of winning? And the other is can the party be turned around and contribute constructively to national politics?

“I am moving firmly to the position of saying yes to both.”

On a visit to Margate earlier this year, Mr Nuttall said Ukip would look to freshen up its brand at the annual party conference in Torquay in September, but Cllr Wells admitted it would be difficult to commit to the new direction the party is aiming for when he is yet to see the plans himself.

Mr Bolton shared similar concerns but insisted he had been reassured by party chiefs it would not stifle the new leader’s own plans.

“It’s a bit of a potential risk launching a rebrand at the same time as a new leader who has not seen it - that could creat a conflict from the word go,” he said.

“However, I have sought reassurance and it’s not going to be something that permeates through the whole party in terms of giving it clear direction, it will be a framework on which the leader can build.

“There’s a need to clarify the ethics of the party quite urgently and a need to get things moving.”