Partner of ex Ukip leader felt ‘like Anne Frank’ after texts scandal
‘He zipped me into a suitcase to sneak me into his flat’: Girlfriend of ex Ukip leader Henry Bolton felt ‘like Anne Frank’ after racist texts scandal forced her to hide out in her lover’s home
- Mr Bolton left his wife third for Jo Marney, 26, after meeting her at a Ukip lunch
- He was toppled as leader after her texts about Meghan Markle came to light
- She said she hid in Mr Bolton’s flat and felt like Jewish schoolgirl Anne Frank
- On another occasion he wore her underwear to a Ukip disciplinary hearing
Jo Marney, 26, has revealed the full inside story of the furore around her relationship with then-Ukip leader Henry Bolton, 55
It was the sex and racism scandal that led to the end of Henry Bolton’s marriage and his ousting as Ukip leader.
Now Jo Marney, the 26-year-old model at the centre of the affair, has revealed the full inside story of the furore, admitting that they faked a break-up to try to save his political career.
Bizarrely, she says she was once zipped into a suitcase and smuggled into Bolton’s home – and tells how he faced a crunch Ukip disciplinary hearing wearing her underwear beneath his suit.
Mr Bolton, 55, caused uproar when he left his third wife after meeting Ms Marney at a Ukip Christmas lunch.
The former Army lance-corporal was toppled as leader earlier this year after The Mail on Sunday revealed that Ms Marney had sent messages to a friend in which she said that Meghan Markle’s ‘seed’ would ‘taint’ the Royal Family when she married Prince Harry.
Now Ms Marney has written a candid account of being at the centre of the media storm, during which she tries to brazen out the public fury over the texts by insisting that they were just part of a late-night ‘drunken shock contest’. And she controversially likens her experience to that of Jewish schoolgirl Anne Frank, who hid from the Nazis during the Second World War.
Ms Marney – who says the relationship with Mr Bolton remains strong despite their three-decade age gap – even makes a public call for him to propose marriage.
In her article on the right of this page, Ms Marney says that her racist messages were ‘all part of a “who is most Right-wing” late-night, drunken “shock contest”’. ‘But how could the public know that I’m not a racist?’ she asks. ‘We decided that the best thing to do was for Henry to “split up” with me… I was living in Henry’s apartment in secret. This ridiculous scenario went on for weeks on end.
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‘I felt like Anne Frank during the war,’ she adds.
Ms Marney then claims that – after they were photographer together during a night out – they hatched a plan for her to be smuggled into his home. ‘We met Henry at a park near his apartment and I squeezed myself into a big suitcase he’d brought: he zipped me up and wheeled me into the apartment building. The next day, we travelled separately to London ahead of the NEC vote [on his future as Ukip leader]….We stayed in a hotel and on the morning of the meeting he said he’d forgotten to pack any underwear.
‘Not a problem. I said he could borrow mine! I wonder how the members of the Ukip NEC may have reacted if they’d have known that the man they unanimously voted against was wearing my leopard-print knickers under his three-piece-suit.’
Mr Bolton has set up a new party, OneNation, which will adopt Ukip-style policies. His marriage to Tatiana Smurova ended in divorce last month.
Ukip, now led by Gerard Batten, says that its membership has risen by 15 per cent since Theresa May announced her Chequers plan for EU negotiations which Brexiteers regard as a sell out.
Henry zipped me into a suitcase to smuggle me into his flat… and wore my leopard print knickers to work
By Jo Marney for the Mail on Sunday
They said it would never last – but eight months after I first fell for Henry Bolton we are still very much together.
Our public courtship led to his downfall as Ukip leader when racially offensive text messages I had sent were published in The Mail on Sunday.
But now he is rebuilding his political career. And despite widespread scepticism about the three-decade age gap between us, we are also building a life together.
It all started when I, dressed in my favourite festive winter dress, first met Henry at a Ukip Christmas lunch at a small sea-front hotel in his home town of Folkestone.
Henry had been leader only for three months, but I was impressed by the vision he set out for the party. He seemed confident yet sweetly vulnerable. It was a combination I had never come across before.
We shared an instant bond. As we posed for a picture I felt him tighten his grip around my waist, pulling me in close. Within a couple of weeks, that photograph would be plastered over the front page of almost every national newspaper.
Jo Marney with Henry Bolton on the London Underground days after the texts were revealed
He was married, and told me that he was going to Vienna to see his wife and children over Christmas, but he confided in me that he was struggling to do his work on time because of arguments with his wife. I tried to offer an ear and a few words of sympathy but he just seemed tired and immensely stressed.
After Christmas we went for a drink. He came back to my parents’ house and we fell asleep in each other’s arms.
Soon afterwards, we were snapped by a photographer and our lives changed for ever.
The real trouble began after the publication of the messages that I’d sent about Meghan Markle.
These were all part of a ‘who is most Right-wing?’ late-night, drunken ‘shock contest’; but how could the public know that I’m not a racist and that my feelings about immigration are purely political and not in any way prejudiced? I felt completely stupid and annoyed at myself.
I knew I wasn’t the person I was being portrayed to be.
‘Today’s papers are tomorrow’s chip wrappers,’ I was assured by Ukip’s spinners.
I wasn’t convinced.
I felt immensely hurt that just because Henry was dating me, people were suggesting that his judgment must be flawed. I knew that my feelings for Henry were genuine and I was determined to stand by him no matter what.
We decided that the best thing to do was for Henry to ‘split up’ with me. I understood and went along with the plan. I sat in Henry’s Folkestone apartment on January 15 and watched my boyfriend ‘dump’ me live on Good Morning Britain.
In order for us to be together, I was living in Henry’s apartment in secret, not even allowing the neighbours to know I was there.
We kept the curtains drawn and I wasn’t even allowed to go near a window, let alone venture outside. This ridiculous scenario went on for weeks on end. I felt like Anne Frank during the War.
Cooped up in Henry’s apartment, I was going stir crazy. I needed to get out. I begged Henry to allow us to do that one evening. Three days before Ukip’s national executive committee met to decide whether to sack him over the messages, he agreed.
We were skint – the party wasn’t paying him – so my parents lent us enough for a meal and we chose the usually very discreet National Liberal Club on London’s Thames Embankment.
Another big mistake. It turned out our entire evening was photographed from start to finish. It resulted in a very reluctant cab ride for me back to my parents’ home in Maidstone.
It meant that we were separated for the first time since Boxing Day. I wanted to go to stay with him in Folkestone without the press noticing.
We formulated a plan. While friends drove away in cars to distract the photographers camped out in the street, my mum drove me to Folkestone at midnight. We met Henry at a park near his apartment and I squeezed myself into a big suitcase he’d brought: he zipped me up and wheeled me into the apartment building.
The next day, we travelled separately to London ahead of the NEC vote. Henry told me that he knew the NEC wanted him gone and would almost certainly vote against him, but he had no intention of stepping down.
We stayed in a hotel and on the morning of the meeting he said he’d forgotten to pack any underwear. Not a problem. I said he could borrow mine! I wonder how the members of the Ukip NEC may have reacted if they’d have known that the man they unanimously voted against was wearing my leopard-print knickers under his three-piece-suit.
On February 17, Ukip held the extraordinary general meeting at which Henry was voted out. I was being labelled by our opposition as an ‘attention-seeking prostitute’ and the world seemed convinced that, should Henry lose the leadership, I’d leave him.
During his time as leader, Henry had been attempting to reform Ukip to stop it becoming extreme Right-wing and to turn it into a party fit to constructively contribute on the national debate on shaping Brexit.
Jo posting provocatively in a snap posted on social media. She said she had to be zipped in a suitcase to be sneaked into Henry Bolton’s flat
Unfortunately, the same extreme Right-wing faction which had briefed against Henry from the outset of his leadership, and were against any reform, had teamed up with the biased and all-powerful NEC.
Together they mercilessly exploited and even fuelled the scandal of our affair and my controversial text messages in order to oust Henry.
Some involved, one close to the NEC, went so far as to offer my ex-boyfriend money and ‘protection’ to feed them with anything inflammatory about me. ‘She deserves it,’ they assured him. I waited in London during the EGM and heard the news that Henry had been defeated. I felt devastated for him and hugely responsible for his loss of the leadership, but I couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief. We could finally stop hiding and be the couple we’d always wanted to be.
Under Gerard Batten’s new leadership, Ukip has lurched to the Right. Its focus is now on a single-issue: anti-Islam rabble-rousing conducted by a handful of ‘shock-jock’ internet bloggers who proudly proclaimed to have taught their dogs to do Nazi salutes. Batten encouraged hordes of loud-mouth extremists to flock to the party, and publicly supported Right-wing activist Tommy Robinson in his bid to appease them. Ukip wasn’t the same as it had been under the leadership of Henry or Nigel Farage. Many members and even entire branches were unhappy with its new direction.
In March, Henry and a team of disillusioned Kippers set up a party with a view to providing a more level-headed alternative.
He says Ukip’s newly found single-issue, extremist approach is letting Brexiteers down just as much as the Tory Government. They have unwittingly left a pliable ‘gap in the market’ and removed themselves from the playing field as a serious party.
Henry’s ‘100% Leave party’, OneNation, would be about delivering Britain ‘through Brexit and beyond’, solving people’s day-to-day problems without the constraint of old-fashioned Left/Right dogma or single-issue extremism.
He has since discussed the idea with leading Brexiteers and major donors, many of whom have quietly expressed a keen interest in the concept, and support the development of a so-called ‘New Kip’.
Planning, work on policies and continued discussions with notable Brexiteers and donors has been the focus so far, but not without a huge amount of resistance from anti-Brexit government establishments. The process is slow, but steady.
Henry is convinced that the country needs a new form of politics, a vision for the future and leadership that puts the country and its people first.
I’m convinced he’s right, but only time will tell whether he and other senior advocates of Brexit can rouse the country to believe in itself and, perhaps as a combined team, succeed in taking control of its future with a new political movement.
In the meantime, Henry and I have been enjoying the newly found privilege of living like a normal couple. We are recognised numerous times a day, in pubs, on the street, and even when abroad, and the attention is usually supportive or inquisitive with only a handful of unpleasant incidents.
We enjoy each other’s company and laugh all the time. If he does anything to annoy me, I just remind him that I’ll be choosing his old people’s home in the future!
As a birthday gift last month, Henry gave me a beautiful crystal necklace from Swarovski as a token of his feelings. My only criticism was that it wasn’t a ring. We have been through so much together and have in so many ways defied the odds. The connection we have is similar to that of two soldiers who’ve fought a battle side by side. Henry is my best friend, and I hope whatever happens we will never lose the incredible bond we share.
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