Losing the position of Ukip leader was worth it to continue his relationship with Jo Marney, Henry Bolton has said.
Confirming that he has now officially left the party, Mr Bolton appeared beside the 25-year-old model in their first public appearance together as he attempted to defend his handling of their highly controversial affair.
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Mr Bolton came to Ms Marney’s defence when presenter Holly Willoughby revealed she had described Grenfell Tower as a “nest of illegal immigrants”.
In comments that have already been heavily criticised by viewers, Mr Bolton attempted to downplay the seriousness of her remarks, claiming that people often made comments on social media they would “never say” in public.
“I think there is a bigger question here for social media, a big question for society, because some of the stuff that is being spread around by people in their early 20s in private messages on social media are absolutely appalling, and they are the sorts of things they would never say face to face or in public,” he continued.
“There seems to be a subculture of discussion which would never be acceptable if it was out in a more open domain, and I think there is a much bigger question about what social media is doing to society.”
Mr Bolton also appeared to suggest that her comments about illegal immigrants were correct, adding: “The Home Office has offered a year’s amnesty for illegal immigrants in that tower who survived.
“And there is a lot of evidence of bodies that are unidentified because they were illegals, so the issue...Jo has used emotive language.”
It comes less than a week after Mr Bolton was ousted as Ukip leader at an extraordinary general meeting in Birmingham, where members overwhelmingly backed a vote of no confidence in him.
Critics of Mr Bolton say his high-profile affair with Ms Marney, which saw him walk out on his wife Tatiana Smurova and their two young children on Christmas Eve, was a major factor in his downfall.
On hearing her previous comments on Grenfell Tower, Ms Marney said that she had not meant to “cause offence” but had instead hoped to prompt debate about the “types of things we should be discussing”.
“I didn’t mean to cause offence. I meant what I said, there’s an issue with illegal immigration in this country,” she said.
Pressed on her comments about Meghan Markle, she added: “It doesn’t sound very nice, and Meghan Markle, my comments about her I think were disgusting. They were meant to shock, and I never intended for them to be in the public domain.”
Asked what the couple’s plans were now, Mr Bolton said they would use the extra time afforded to them to tackle a “lot of things in our personal life”.