Ukip leader Henry Bolton has started a relationship with a “model, actor and Brexiteer” 28 years his junior after splitting up with his wife, it has been revealed.
Mr Bolton, who took over as leader of the party last September from Nigel Farage, admitted last night that he started a relationship recently with Jo Marney – a 25-year-old model and party member from Kent.
Appearing in slippers when answering the door at Ms Marney’s home near Maidstone in Kent, he was asked about the relationship and replied: “The answer is yes, I’m here just visiting for the moment.
“My wife is fully aware of what’s been going on and has been abroad since July.”
Ms Marney describes herself as a Brexiteer and her social media mixes pro-Brexit pieces with glamour photos.
On Boxing Day she tweeted a picture of Mr Bolton with a purple heart, which is the UKIP Party colour.
The UKIP leader posted on social media on New Year’s Day: “Myself and Jo Marney nearly run over by George Osborne in Covent Garden.”
A friend told The Sun: “It certainly took us all by surprise, but Jo is one of the Ukip family now.
“She’s lovely and clever and wants to help and support Henry.”
Mr Bolton said his Russian wife Tatiana, who he has two children with, was supportive when he was elected as leader of UKIP last September.
But, in a statement following the revelations, he denies having any kind of “clandestine affair”.
In a statement to Ukip members, he said: “Some of you may find yourselves reading the newspaper. If you do then inside you might find a piece that has been written about me; specifically talking about my private life.
“The potential story is going to confirm that in recent weeks, I have had a change in my relationship status.
“The story might also suggest (inaccurately) that this change has involved a clandestine affair with a young lady who happens to be a member of Ukip.”
He goes on to claim that the reports are an attempt to create negative press.
The statement added: “As you will probably realise, since I was elected in September the media have been pretty keen to find something negative to write about me.
“I am in a new relationship and the media have latched onto that. However, while I fully accept that as a national political figure I can expect to be the subject of media attention, I also believe we are all entitled to a certain degree of privacy.
Mr Bolton is a former diplomat and was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to national security.
He was in the Army for 11 years and served eight as an officer with the Thames Valley Police, receiving an award for bravery.
The Ukip leader was formerly a Liberal Democrats candidate and stood in the 2005 General Election for Runnymede and Weybridge in Surrey.
Mr Bolton pledged to “ramp up” his Party’s profile and that 2018 will be a “significant year” for Ukip.