BOLTON’S UKIP chief has pointed the finger at the party’s scandal-hit leader following a poor by-election showing.

UKIP candidate Beverley Fletcher polled just 6.5 per cent of the vote in the battle for Hulton ward, as Conservative Toby Hewitt took the seat.

Cllr Sean Hornby, leader of UKIP’s Bolton Group, says there is ‘no doubt’ the scandal engulfing Henry Bolton - whose glamour model girlfriend sent racist text messages about Meghan Markle – had an effect.

He added: “We got a bit of a bloodbath at the by-election on Thursday. We didn’t expect to win the seat, but we didn’t expect to lose so badly.

“The only consolation is that Labour didn’t win it, that seat has clearly gone back to being a Conservative seat, we’ve got our work cut out now.

“I really felt for our candidate Bev Fletcher, I’ve spoken to her since and her opinion is that Henry has to go. The party’s by-election result was not good, our percentage of the vote has halved in less than 12 months.”

Cllr Hornby continued “Our national executive committee met on Sunday and passed a unanimous vote of no confidence, the only person that didn’t was himself. To me that sends a clear message that he should he shouldn’t cause the party any more embarrassment, he should do the decent thing and resign and we should put an interim leader in place while the party sorts the mess out.”

In an official statement Cllr Paul Richardson, chairman of UKIP’s Bolton branch, said: "There is no doubt that the situation in the higher echelons of UKIP regarding the leadership is a mess.

"Following Henry Bolton’s refusal to resign, the party has a constitutional process which will now be followed leading to a vote of members who attend a special EGM within the next 28 days. This should resolve the matter one way or the other.

"Locally, members of UKIP and those who vote UKIP will no doubt have a range of opinions on what is going on – opinions which have yet to be tested.

"One thing that is without doubt is that myself and my fellow councillors will continue to represent our Ward constituents and other residents of the borough to the best of our ability unencumbered by party diktat as we have been doing since 2014."

Cllr Richardson added that he would be standing for re-election in May and that UKIP would be putting up candidates in all wards.