Woman in Ukip sex scandal did NOT study politics at Oxford University. Doubts grow about who is telling the truth about her relationship with party chief
- Natasha Bolter claims Ukip general secretary Roger Bird propositioned her
- But she admits that when she turned him down he was a ‘gentleman’
- Bird rejects harassment claims and says they were in a relationship
- Ukip party member made a complaint about candidate selection process
- Six days later Mrs Bolter met officials, but did not make formal complaint
- Mr Bird, 41, revealed intimate texts sent after investigation was launched
- Mrs Bolter, 35, denies any romantic or sexual contact with the 41-year-old
- On Sunday Mr Bird was suspended ‘following allegations of impropriety’
- Doubts raised about her story and claim to have a PPE degree from Oxford
Serious doubts have emerged about the story of the woman at the centre of Ukip’s sex scandal, as Oxford University rejected claims she studied politics there in the 1990s.
Natasha Bolter’s defection to Ukip from Labour was lauded by party general secretary Roger Bird, because like him she had secured a degree in politics, philosophy and economics from the world famous university.
But after she claimed Mr Bird had made her an indecent proposal, leading to his suspension, the university has now said it has no record of her ever being a student.
It came after questions were raised about why Mrs Bolter had not made a formal complaint about Mr Bird, and she insisted he was a ‘gentleman’ who accepted she did not want to sleep with him.
Natasha Bolter revealed further details of her relationship with Ukip general secretary Roger Bird, insisting he was a ‘gentleman’ after she declined to sleep with him. Mr Bird has since been suspended
In an at times emotional interview, Mrs Bolter insisted she was speaking out because she did not want women to feel under pressure from men in positions of power
HOW THE TEXTS CONTINUED AFTER INVESTIGATION WAS LAUNCHED
In a shock announcement on Monday evening, Ukip announced Mr Bird had been suspended while it investigated allegations of ‘impropriety’.
On Tuesday Mrs Bolter gave an interview claiming to have been the victim of sexual harassment.
But in the past 48 hours doubts have been cast on her account of events, particularly why she continued sending Mr Bird affectionate text messages after the date she claimed to have raised concerns about him.
Now it has emerged that the claim she studied at Oxford is also untrue.
At the Ukip conference in Doncaster in September, Mr Bird introduced umber of Labour activists, including Mrs Bolter, who were joining Ukip.
He told the audience how she attended a comprehensive school, and was now a teacher in a comprehensive school in east London.
He added: ‘She got five A grades at A-levels, and went on to read PPE at Wadham College, Oxford.
‘Now, I was particularly pleased to hear this as it means I am now no longer the only Oxford PPE-ist in Ukip, and Nigel will have to stop making jokes about PPE-ists.’
However, a spokesman for the university today said that having checked the records against her date of birth and maiden name: ‘We can confirm that Oxford University has no record of a Natasha Ahmed having attended Oxford.’
It is understood doubts about the degree may have led to the initial Ukip investigation into Mrs Bolter.
In her first television interview since the allegations emerged, the single mother-of-five said she never ‘felt scared’ of Mr Bird but has spoken out because he was ‘looking at me as a sex object’.
She suggested that if the party had dealt with her complaints properly last month, Mr Bird could ‘have just got a little tap on the wrist’.
The row erupted when the religious education teacher accused Mr Bird of ‘taking her down to the snooker room’ at a club after a dinner in London and propositioning her on the day he interviewed her as a prospective candidate.
But he responded yesterday by revealing a string of loving messages he claimed she had sent him – including one which read: ‘I love you and miss you and think you are sort of perfect.’
He insisted the messages proved that, far from sexually harassing her, the pair had actually been in a ‘consensual’ relationship.
But Mrs Bolter, 39, responded furiously to his claims, accusing him of lying and insisting: ‘I did not sleep with Roger Bird – end of.’
But she admitted there were text messages. In an interview with BBC Two’s Newsnight, recorded before Mr Bird releases the content of texts, she said: ‘There are texts between us.’
Asked if they were of an ‘intimate nature’ she replied: ‘No.’
She added: ‘Often I send a kiss after a text… you know like: see you later kiss kiss…I think that’s a girl thing to do. But I don’t think it is particularly intimate.’
One text message, which Mr Bird claimed was sent by Mrs Bolter on November 2, said: ‘I love u bird and wish u let me look after u. Hope u feel better xx.’
And a message sent on November 9 said: ‘I am really missing u bird…’
Mrs Bolter made her first complaint to the party on November 5. On Monday night Ukip announced that, after an internal inquiry, Mr Bird had been suspended ‘following allegations of impropriety’.
Mr Bird told The Telegraph: ‘I am going to make my case. Everything I am saying is backed by emails and text messages. There are plenty of emails and text messages between us which how it was a consensual relationship with interest on both sides.
‘I have done nothing wrong. I am a single man, she is also single, we are both single people who conducted a consensual relationship outside the office.
‘I’m very sorry that a story like his should have arisen because it detracts from our [Ukip’s] central messages. The party had to respond in a formal way and conduct an appropriate investigation.’
When asked who out of her and Mr Bird was ‘lying big time’ about the nature of their friendship, Mrs Bolter hesitantly replied: ‘I think he… well I know he is lying … I did not sleep with Roger Bird, end of.’
Roger Bird, pictured at his home yesterday, insists he had a ‘consensual’ relationship with Mrs Bolter, and has vowed to clear his name with a series of text messages he claims she sent him
Mr Bird has now released details of text messages (some pictured above) to try to clear his name
The allegations were first made public when Mrs Bolter claimed in a sensational interview with The Times yesterday that when she was being considered for selection as a Ukip candidate by Mr Bird, the party’s £75,000-a-year general secretary, he told her she was ‘attractive’ and asked: ‘Would you like to come home with me?’
Mrs Bolter – the party’s most high-profile ethnic minority candidate and frontrunner for the winnable seat of South Basildon, Essex – has now quit Ukip in disgust.
Asked if Mr Bird ever made a ‘clear proposition’ that they should go to bed together, Mrs Boiter told Newsnight: ‘Yes, but when I said No, nothing happened. He’s a gentleman.
‘I never felt scared of him, I just felt pressure maybe that if I did the right thing my career would go faster and further.
‘If I would have slept with him, I would have probably had an easier time than I have had in Ukip.
‘But it was almost, I joined a party and I was thrown to the wolves.’
She added: ‘I said No because I want to win an election campaign because I am good on my own merit, whether I sleep with him or anybody else.
‘I do not want to sleep with somebody in order to benefit my career because I am Catholic.’
She claims that she raised concerns with Ukip on November 5, but nothing was done and she was told to keep her head down.
The party disputes this and insists it began an internal inquiry after another party member who raised concerns about the selection process in South Basildon.
Labour defector Natasha Bolter quit UKIP claiming she was sexually harassed by a senior official
THE UKIP MONEY MAN….
…AND THE MOTHER OF FIVE
Mrs Bolter said: ‘On the one hand … he shouldn’t have favouritised me as a PPC, I shouldn’t have felt pressure that if I did sleep with him I would have got further.
‘But on the other hand, when I said No, he understood it as a No.
‘But if this issue would have been dealt with when I flagged it up with all the other issues and all the other problems I was experiencing in Ukip on November 5, then I think he could have just got a little tap on the wrist and that would have been the end and we could have both continued.’
In the interview, Mrs Bolter said she felt ‘a little bit uncomfortable’ with Mr Bird’s first invitation to the Oxford and Cambridge Club in London because ‘it was as though he found me attractive and wanted to get to know me in a more intimate way as opposed to just being a good political representative for the party’.
The row is a major blow to Ukip leader Nigel Farage who hoped to show he had proffeionalised the party ahead of next year’s election
She recalled another occasion in October when she met Mr Bird at his office and he suggested going for dinner at the Oxford and Cambridge Club, where membership is limited to those who attended the two universities.
‘It was the school half-term holidays and I was wearing a jean skirt and Doctor Martin boots, I don’t think I looked very politician-y that day,’ she said.
‘He said that I wasn’t in the right clothes to go and have a nice dinner. He bought me a dress so I could go and have a nice dinner with him.
Natasha Bolter quit UKIP claiming she had been sexually harassed by the general secretary
‘Which in itself is nice. As well it’s a way to buy things in order to… so that you’re in control and they’re not because you’re grateful for them supporting you.
‘But the thing that made me most sad about the whole incident was a small comment when he said “now you look like the sort of girl that can get into a taxi”.
‘And I think that epitomises Ukip and how they see women.’
Asked why he continued meeting with him, she insisted: ‘He was the general secretary, I was a PPC. If the general secretary of the political party you want to stand for calls you and says “Natasha, please come and meet me for a coffee, you go for a coffee.
‘It’s what one does with one’s superiors.’
She added: ‘He wasn’t taking me seriously as a candidate. He was looking at me as a sex object.’
Mrs Bolter defected to Ukip from Labour in September – a move that was seen as a huge coup for the anti-EU party.
But she said her treatment raises doubts about Ukip’s suitability for office.
‘I did make a complaint. When I was bringing forward all these claims in a very polite and professional way, I was told to keep my head down, and it will be sorted.
‘And it wasn’t sorted. And so we need to look at it in the greater picture.
‘So if they’re not looking after a candidate, a PPC candidate, that’s going to stand in one of their target seats who’s bringing forward serious allegations of sexism and racism and misogyny, are they really going to look after their electorate?’
She warned that ‘often there are men in powerful positions and I’m not in a powerful position. I’m just a PPC candidate for Ukip’.
‘He is a powerful general secretary in Ukip. He can decide for me, for Natasha, whether I will succeed or whether I won’t succeed.
‘Where will it end? And there is pressure on women and that’s why I am standing up here today.
‘And that’s why I reported it and that’s why I walked away from a target seat and flagged up all these issues and ruined my career and ruined my life.
‘Because there’s so much pressure on women to maybe sleep with somebody that they don’t want to in order to get into a job because that’s the pressure they’re under.
‘And it’s at all levels of society, and that’s what I am standing against because it’s what I disagree with and we need to do it for the future generation, for future girls out there.’