The girlfriend of the scandal-hit Ukip leader Henry Bolton has apologised for racist remarks she made about Meghan Markle, calling them ‘reckless and unnecessary’.
Jo Marney, 25, sent a series of shocking messages in which she said Prince Harry’s ‘black American’ fiancee will ‘taint’ the Royal Family with ‘her seed’ and pave the way for a ‘black king’.
Speaking outside her home today, Ms Marney told MailOnline: ‘I’d like to say I’m absolutely devastated by the messages that I’ve sent and the distress that I’ve caused anyone by those messages.
‘They were unnecessary, they were reckless, they were overly exaggerated purely for effect.
‘They were never intended to be put in the public domain and I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere and deepest apologies to anyone I’ve hurt and for the distress and embarrassment I’ve caused my family, friends and the party.’
The 54-year-old party leader, whose relationship with Ms Marney has also led to demands for him to quit, was told by Ukip West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge after the texts surfaced: ‘Go now. Go quietly and leave us to deal with what’s left.’
Mr Bolton, whose relationship with Ms Marney is under investigation by the party, said today that she had been suspended ‘immediately upon us receiving this information’.
In a Facebook video message Mr Etheridge said: ‘It appears that we are now seeing Ukip resources, which are at best scant, being used to defend Henry’s private life.’
He said he would step down as a Ukip spokesman if Mr Bolton, who was elected leader last September, ‘insists on prolonging this agony’.
A senior UKIP source insisted Mr Bolton had not resigned and was not intending to tonight.
Fellow former Ukip leadership candidate Ben Walker also called for Mr Bolton to resign, accusing him of having ‘deeply flawed judgement’.
Mr Bolton tweeted this morning that he was in London and preparing to head down to London to deal with ‘other matters’.
The Mail On Sunday also revealed Ms Marney’s use of the word ‘Negro’ and a message reading ‘This is Britain, not Africa’ during a discussion about the royal engagement.
In a statement last night Ms Marney said: ‘The opinions I expressed were deliberately exaggerated in order to make a point and have, to an extent, been taken out of context. Yet I fully recognise the offence they have caused.’
Mr Bolton replied to a young party member online who urged him to publicly call for Ms Marney to have her membership removed.
‘She has to go or he and @UKIP are doomed if we let this behaviour happen in the party,’ the teenage activist said.
In replying Mr Bolton tweeted: ‘Jo was suspended immediately upon us receiving this information.’
Peter Whittle, leader of Ukip’s delegation in the London Assembly, also called for Ms Marney to be ‘expelled altogether’ for the ‘disgraceful remarks’.
Party chairman Paul Oakden said he decided to suspend Ms Marney’s party membership immediately after he was made aware of the messages.
‘Ukip does not, has not and never will condone racism,’ he told the Mail on Sunday.
The report of Ms Marney’s use of highly offensive language about people from different ethnic backgrounds comes as Mr Bolton faces an investigation into his controversial private life by senior party officials.
Mr Bolton left wife Tatiana, 42, who gave birth to their second daughter at London’s St Pancras station in 2016 after going into labour on a train, prior to his relationship with Ms Marney becoming public in early January.
The Ukip leader confirmed that he had a ‘change in my relationship status’ in recent weeks, although he denied reports that it had involved ‘a clandestine affair with a young lady who happens also to be a member of Ukip’.
In a letter to members, Mr Oakden said the National Executive Committee ruling body agreed to discuss the leader’s private life at a special meeting in January.
On her Twitter profile Ms Marney describes herself as a model, actor and journalist, as well as a Brexiteer.
Ms Marney was immediately suspended from Ukip last night after The Mail on Sunday alerted party chiefs to her grossly offensive comments.
The Mail On Sunday’s revelations come just days before Bolton is due to face a crunch meeting over his own future with Ukip following outrage over his new relationship.
If Mr Bolton is ousted by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee on Thursday, it would leave the party having to elect its fifth leader in barely 18 months.
His position looks increasingly shaky as there is no recent precedent for the partner of the leader of any political party to have been suspended from that party.
One Ukip figure even predicted that the scandal could signal the end of the party, which has battled serious financial problems since Nigel Farage stepped down as leader in the wake of the EU referendum.
In Ms Marney’s messages, which she sent to a male friend just three weeks before starting her relationship with Mr Bolton, she sneers at Harry’s engagement to Los Angeles-born Markle – who will marry Harry on May 19 – on the grounds that she is a ‘black American’.
Ms Marney also describes Ms Markle, whose mother is black and whose father is white, as ‘a scrubber’ and a ‘gender equality t***’ who is ‘obsessed with race’ and a ‘dumb little commoner’.
Alluding to ethnic minorities in general, Ms Marney writes that they are ‘pushing their way to the top slowly slowly. Next will be a Muslim PM. And a black king’.
The ex-model – who has remained in touch with the friend she texted since starting her relationship with Mr Bolton – tells him that she would not have sex ‘with a negro’.
When the friend asks her what is wrong with black people, she replies: ‘Ugly. Not my thing. Just personal taste. They don’t turn me on.’
During the exchange, Ms Marney – who is from Kent and describes herself as an actor and music journalist – also complains that there is ‘an immigration problem’, saying: ‘This is Britain. Not Africa’.
After her friend accuses her of being racist, she writes: ‘Lol so what… Not wanting other races and cultures to invade your own culture doesn’t mean I hate their race. Just means I don’t want their cultures invading mine.’
After being confronted with her texts by The Mail on Sunday last night, Ms Marney apologised for her comments which she claimed had been ‘taken out of context’.
In a statement, she said: ‘I apologise unreservedly for the shocking language I used. The opinions I expressed were deliberately exaggerated in order to make a point and have, to an extent, been taken out of context. Yet I fully recognise the offence they have caused.
‘No offence was intended and, again, I apologise unreservedly for any such offence or hurt that my messages have caused to members of the public, members of Ukip, my friends, family, and loved ones.
‘I have disappointed them all and let myself down. I cannot sufficiently express my regret and sadness at having done so.’
Mr Oakden said: ‘In light of messages that have been brought to my attention, I have taken the decision to immediately suspend her party membership pending an investigation. Ukip does not, has not and never will condone racism.’
Since news of his relationship broke, Mr Bolton has repeatedly insisted that he will not resign as he is convinced another leadership contest would ‘cripple the party’.
He claimed that his marriage to Ms Smurova was already over when he met Miss Marney, and has said: ‘I have no doubt I’m going to come out of this, and Jo and I are going to come out of this as a couple, stronger than we went into it.’
Before the racist texts emerged, Mr Oakden said that Mr Bolton and the party were ‘keen to work collectively in finding a resolution that best protects the future prospects of Ukip following the scandal over the relationship.
Mr Farage quit after the 2016 referendum, saying he had achieved his political ambition. He was followed as leader by Diane James, who lasted just 18 days after feuding with the party’s ‘old guard’.
Mr Farage then returned briefly, to be succeeded by Paul Nuttall in November 2016. Nuttall resigned after seven months following the Election, when Ukip’s polled less than 2 per cent. Steve Crowther took over until Mr Bolton was elected in September. He has failed to lift Ukip’s poll ratings above 4 per cent.
Mr Oakden said Mr Bolton now finds himself with a ‘difficult’ decision to make and is expected to decide on Sunday what to do to ‘help remedy the situation’.
He told BBC’s Sunday Politics: ‘I think it is very clear that Henry is increasingly in a position where he’s got some difficult decisions to make.’
Mr Oakden, who declined to give his own views on Mr Bolton’s current situation, said the party needs to be ‘behind our leader 100% in taking that battle (for Brexit) forward’.
He said: ‘Whether or not the party decides it is willing to give that support to Henry is for the party to decide.’
The party’s National Executive Committee will meet next Sunday.
SOURCE: Daily Mail – Rory Tingle, Glen Owen