The leader of the UK Independence Party has broken up with his girlfriend following revelations of her shocking comments about American actress Meghan Markle.
“I don’t defend these comments whatsoever,” UKIP leader Henry Bolton, 54, said on “Good Morning Britain” on Monday.
Bolton said the “romantic side” of his relationship with Jo Marney, a 25-year-old model, ended Sunday night after a “long and upsetting conversation” for both of them.
“At the moment it is obviously quite incompatible to continue the relationship,” he said. But “I’m going to be continuing to support her family because Jo is absolutely distraught by this.”
The split followed an uproar over Facebook messages Marney sent to a friend about Markle, who will marry Prince Harry this spring. Marney described Markle as a “dumb little commoner,” and called black people “ugly.” She also said Markle would “taint” the royal family and pave the way for a “black king.”
When a person responded to the comments by calling them racist, Marney answered: “So what?” the BBC reported.
On Sunday, Marney told The Daily Mail that she was sorry for the “reckless and unnecessary” comments, then added that her words had been ‘‘taken completely out of context.’’
Bolton said he only began a relationship with Marney in December and was unaware of the messages.
Marney’s membership in UKIP has also been suspended “pending an investigation,” said Bolton.
It’s “against the constitution of the party to be racist in any way,” Bolton told “Good Morning Britain.”
Bolton has been under pressure from members of his party to step down after news of the messages emerged. Critics said his love life had become a distraction and an embarrassment. Bolton said he hopes to remain as the head of his party.
Markle has encountered other race issues in Britain since she began a relationship with Prince Harry. In December, Princess Michael of Kent attended a Christmas lunch with the royal family — including Markle and Harry — wearing a brooch of a black African woman. The princess later apologized.