UK Politics

UKIP's Roger Bird in disciplinary hearing

Roger Bird, Natasha Bolter Image copyright Other
Image caption Roger Bird and Natasha Bolter

A disciplinary hearing has taken place into the conduct of UKIP's general secretary.

Roger Bird was suspended on full pay last Sunday over what UKIP called "allegations of impropriety".

He denies sexually harassing recently recruited UKIP candidate Natasha Bolter and abusing his position.

Party sources say there won't be a decision on his future until next week, to allow "deliberation over the weekend".

The party chairman, Steve Crowther, I understand, is involved in the process, but party leader Nigel Farage isn't on the disciplinary committee.

'Time to deliberate'

Asked about the hearing while campaigning in Kent, Mr Farage said there would be no resolution on Friday as "when you have a trial the judge has to be given time to deliberate".

"There will be a disciplinary hearing," Mr Farage said. "We're taking no chances - we called in a team of outside human resources consultants to deal with this. We'll sit down with him (Mr Bird) and discuss it."

The committee met at an undisclosed London location.

Ms Bolter has accused Mr Bird of propositioning her after he oversaw her completion of an exam for prospective candidates.

He denies that version of events, claiming he had a "consensual relationship" with her.

She said this did not happen but he has released text messages which he says back up his case.

On Monday, UKIP said it had acted "swiftly and decisively" as soon as it became aware of the allegations but declined to discuss the nature of the claims, saying it was an "internal party matter".

A statement on its website said: "Unfortunately, UKIP has had to suspend Mr Bird pending a full investigation into allegations made against him. The party has acted swiftly and decisively and will not tolerate impropriety of any kind amongst its staff."

Separately, UKIP has said it will not discuss any donations it receives amid unconfirmed reports that Richard Desmond, the owner of the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers, is set to give the party £300,000. ​​

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