Nigel Farage has suggested to chaos-hit Henry Bolton that he’s "stupid and selfish" in a cringeworthy live radio interview.
The right-winger grilled his successor as UKIP leader after he refused to quit today, vowing to "drain the swamp" despite mass resignations and a looming no-confidence vote.
UKIP members were left outraged last week when Mr Bolton was spotted holding hands and on the train home with 25-year-old glamour model Jo Marney – who he claimed he’d ditched her over racist messages she sent about Meghan Markle.
Mr Farage, who’s become an LBC radio host since stepping down in 2016, told Mr Bolton that to many UKIP members his decision to see Ms Marney again was "the height of stupidity".
He put it to Mr Bolton that his behaviour was "a little bit cringemaking" and his refusal to step down voluntarily could be "perhaps just a little bit selfish".
Despite directly condemning Mr Bolton’s "pretty stupid" behaviour, Mr Farage later said he backed his decision to fight on to a full no-confidence vote by UKIP’s membership.
And he suggested Mr Bolton could become UKIP’s Jeremy Corbyn, saying: "Corbyn was written off by the press, but the rank and file membership saved him."
During the interview Mr Bolton bizarrely said he was enjoying lurid coverage of his private life.
Asked how he copes with press attention he said: "The occasional whisky does help.
"In some ways you know I’m actually enjoying navigating through all of this."
He also suggested his relationship with Ms Marney could be rekindled in the future.
"We’re still in contact, of course there are strong emotions there, but we both need to sort our own private lives out," he said.
"So the romantic side of the relationship is off, certainly at the moment, and going forward, who knows what the future holds?"
Mr Bolton insisted cash-strapped UKIP could not afford another leadership contest "economically and politically".
But Margot Parker, who quit as his deputy today, said: "His judgement has been extremely flawed. He’s taken his eye off the ball.
"It’s a pretty whacky situation that we find ourselves in."
She said Mr Bolton "hasn’t behaved very well" and called for an end to the "wretched in-fighting and stupidity", saying: "We cannot be in this La-La Land."
Mr Bolton did have a prominent backer – Diane James, who only lasted 18 days as UKIP leader herself.
Mr Bolton refused to resign earlier today despite mass resignations and a looming no confidence vote.
The right-winger whose 25-year-old girlfriend sent racist messages quoted Donald Trump as he gave a bullish statement declaring: "In a single phrase, it is time to drain the swamp."
Speaking outside his Kent seaside bolthole for the first time since UKIP’s ruling NEC called a vote of no confidence in him last night, Mr Bolton said it was the NEC, not him, that had lost the confidence of members.
He branded the NEC "not fit for purpose", vowed to end "factional infighting" and declared: "I repeat – I shall not be resigning as Party leader."
He also announced a massive power grab, saying he will propose a new party constitution and vowing to oust large tracts of the NEC.
Last week he raged at a "coup against me" over the release of his glamour model ex’s racist messages in a late-night Facebook rant.
Ms Marney said Meghan Markle would “taint” the Royal Family with her “seed” and pave the way for a "black king" in texts.
Yet Mr Bolton defended her – saying he still loves her and she was "exploited by my political enemies", praising her as "politically very aware", and refusing to rule out getting back with her.
UKIP has already had six leaders in just 18 months since the EU referendum , two of which were Nigel Farage.
The party’s vote share was slashed from more than 4million to barely 500,000 between the 2015 and 2017 general elections.
TIMELINE: Chaotic UKIP’s six leaders in less than two years
23 June 2016: Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP on and off for a decade – the ‘off’ including three days when he resigned then ‘unresigned’ in 2015 – emerges triumphant from the EU referendum but resigns less than two weeks later saying "I want my life back".
16 September 2016: Unknown Diane James is elected leader after a farcical race in which favourite Steve Woolfe was disqualified for sending his paperwork 17 minutes late. He was later knocked out cold in a punch-up in the European Parliament and quit the party.
4 October 2016: Diane James resigns just 18 days into the job after mysteriously writing ‘under duress’ in Latin on her leadership forms. Nigel Farage takes over again as acting leader.
28 November 2016: Flat cap-loving deputy leader Paul Nuttall is elected leader and immediately has to defend comments where he "congratulated" NHS privatisation and called for the abortion time limit to be halved.
9 June 2017: Paul Nuttall quits after weeping onstage about false claims he lost friends at Hillsborough, being chased by journalists out of a failed by-election to shouts of "where the f***’s the car", losing 114 out of 115 county councillors, and getting slashed from 4million to 500,000 votes in the general election. Steve Crowther is made acting leader.
29 September 2017: Ex-Army officer Henry Bolton is elected leader, beating a far-right activist who branded Islam ‘evil’, a man who said a gay donkey raped his horse and proposed paying British Indians £10,000 to leave, and a man who wanted to mine the moons of Jupiter. The best known-fact was Bolton’s wife gave birth on a train, until it became a better-known fact that he left her and started dating a 25-year-old glamour model who sent racist texts about Meghan Markle and called Grenfell Tower a ‘nest of immigrants’.