UKIP’s Roger Bird to quit as general secretary

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UKIP has cleared its General Secretary Roger Bird after a sexual harassment allegation but says he will leave his post early by mutual consent.

Mr Bird had faced a disciplinary hearing over his relations with former party candidate Natasha Bolter.

In a statement, UKIP said it found “no evidence to support the allegation”.

A UKIP spokesman said: “UKIP has concluded its inquiry into allegations regarding its general secretary, Roger Bird. The inquiry was conducted by an independent HR consultancy, to ensure that these serious allegations were fully, impartially and carefully investigated.

“As a result of the investigation, the party accepts Mr Bird’s statement that the personal relationship between him and Ms Bolter was consensual and found no evidence to support the allegation of sexual harassment.

“In addition, the party is satisfied that Mr Bird’s actions did not compromise the integrity of its candidate selection process, and indeed that the circumstances of the case underline the robust nature of the party’s assessment, approval and candidate vetting system.

“Given the unfortunate publicity stimulated by media speculation, it has been mutually agreed to bring Mr Bird’s fixed term contract of employment to an earlier conclusion. The party would like to thank Mr Bird for his contribution and valued service over the past five months.”

Mr Bird: “I am very glad that the party has investigated and dismissed the allegations of sexual harassment and any impropriety regarding the selection of Ms Bolter as a candidate.

“I wish UKIP every success in the election campaign. I remain a member and keen supporter of the party and I will continue to make every effort to help our candidates to victory in May.”

Mr Bird was previously the party’s chairman in the South East of England – and was himself responsible for suspending UKIP councillor David Silvester, who claimed that same-sex marriage caused storms that battered the UK.

Mr Bird had disassociated the party from Mr Silvester’s comments, saying: “We cannot have any individual using the UKIP banner to promote their controversial personal beliefs which are not shared by the party”.

Earlier this week, a UKIP parliamentary candidate complained that a gay donkey once tried to rape his horse.

John Rees-Evans, who is the party’s PPC in Cardiff South and Penarth, made the bizarre comments outside the opening of a new UKIP shop in Merthyr.

UKIP Chairman Steve Crowther urged at the weekend for members to quit Facebook and Twitter, in a bid to save themselves from making homophobic remarks.