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Newly-elected Ukip leader Henry Bolton to step back from pro-Manston campaign group ‘to avoid conflict’

PUBLISHED: 11:02 02 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 October 2017

Ukip party leader Henry Bolton. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Ukip party leader Henry Bolton. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Mr Bolton is currently chair of Why Not Manston?

Henry Bolton will step back from his role as chairman of a campaign group working to re-open Manston Airport after being elected leader of Ukip.

Why Not Manston? is one of a number of groups working to restore aviation to the site since it closed in 2014, however Mr Bolton believes he can no longer continue as chair due to time constraints and fears over potential conflicts, with Thanet District Council currently the only Ukip-run local authority in the country.

While on the campaign trail last month, Mr Bolton, who lives in Folkestone, ignited a row with council leader Chris Wells over the handling over the saga.

The site is currently owned by bosses behind the Stone Hill Park project, which aims to develop 2,500 homes and leisure facilities on the land.

Mr Bolton told KentNews.co.uk this week he hadn’t spoken to Cllr Wells since winning the party leadership with around 30 per cent of the vote last Friday - where he pledged to unite the party - but would be in contact over the coming days.

“Ukip got into local government in Thanet because Nigel Farage was fighting there which gave it a lot of profile but primarily it was because of Manston,” he said.

“It was a success story but it has slipped back. I am not pointing fingers at Chris, I want to discuss how we will turn that around.”

Cllr Wells told us in response: “I wish to congratulate Henry on his election and look forward to his energy and ambition in uniting Ukip behind our basic common principles.

“I additionally welcome Henry’s decision to stand down from his role with Why Not Manston, it is a typically common sense decision from him, the first I hope of many.

“I am sure we will meet to discuss Manston and other issues relating to local government as soon as his diary permits, and I look forward to working with him on all and any of these issues.”

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