Ukip leader Henry Bolton is facing calls to resign as his girlfriend was suspended from the party for allegedly making racist remarks about Meghan Markle.
Mr Bolton’s 25-year-old partner Jo Marney has apologised for “shocking” language in a series of messages to a friend in which she made highly offensive comments about Prince Harry’s fiancee and black people.
The 54-year-old party leader, whose relationship with Ms Marney is under investigation by Ukip, said on Sunday that she had been suspended “immediately upon us receiving this information”.
The Mail On Sunday printed texts it said had been sent by Ms Marney, including use of the word “Negro” and a message reading “This is Britain, not Africa” during a discussion about the royal engagement.
Mr Bolton, whose controversial private life is already being probed by senior party officials, is now facing calls to step down.
Ukip West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, addressing the party leader via an online video, said: “Go now. Go quietly and leave us to deal with what’s left.”
In the Facebook 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”.
Fellow former Ukip leadership candidate Ben Walker also called for Mr Bolton to resign, accusing him of having “deeply flawed judgment”.
Asked by the Press Association whether Mr Bolton should resign former Ukip leader Nigel Farage declined to comment.
Former leadership candidate Suzanne Evans told BBC News: “It’s just another scandal on top of scandal after scandal with Mr Bolton. I understand he is considering his position today.
“We will have to see what the next few hours bring.”
Party chairman Paul 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.
In a statement to the paper Ms Marney, who describes herself on her Twitter profile as a model, actor and journalist, as well as a Brexiteer, apologised.
She 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 told a young party member online, who urged that Ms Marney should have her membership removed: “Jo was suspended immediately upon us receiving this information.”
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”.