UKIP replaces leader Henry Bolton with Gerard Batten, who has called equal marriage ‘a nightmare’

UKIP (UK Independence Party) Brexit spokesman and Member of the European Parliament for London (MEP), Gerard Batten, addresses members of the media at the party's by-election campaign headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent, central England on February 13, 2017. UKIP Leader Paul Nuttall is standing as the party's canditate in the forthcoming by-election for the seat of Stoke-on-Trent Central, which has been held by the Labour Party since 1950. / AFP / Oli SCARFF (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

UKIP voters have removed Henry Bolton as head of the party after just five months.

The party has appointed controversial MEP Gerard Batten as its interim leader – its seventh in just under two years.

In 2014, Batten called equal marriage “a nightmare,” adding that his “gay friends in UKIP [were] perfectly happy with that stance as well.”

BOLTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17: Ukip Brexit spokesman Gerard Batten MEP addresses party members during the UKIP Annual Spring Conference at the Macron Stadium on February 17, 2017 in Bolton, England. The annual conference comes ahead of crucial by-elections for the party in Stoke-On-Trent and Copeland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)


A few months after making those comments, Batten said that migrants with HIV should not be allowed into the UK, calling the virus “highly dangerous”.

Of the nearly 1,400 people who took part in the vote at the party’s emergency meeting in Birmingham, 63 percent wanted Bolton to leave the position he only took up in September.

Speaking to the audience in Birmingham, Batten said it gave him “no pleasure” to be in his position.


Adding it had become “untenable” for Bolton to continue as leader, UKIP co-founder Batten told the crowd: “UKIP has to continue because we are the only opposition.”

He continued: “I want UKIP to be a populist party,” adding that ‘populist’ had become a “term of abuse”.

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