UKIP removes youth chairman from office for supporting gay rights

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) has removed the chairman of its youth wing, Young Independence, in part due to his support for same-sex marriage. It has not however removed officials before for stating that gay couples adopting is “child abuse” or that people who read PinkNews should be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Olly Neville, who was last year elected as chairman of Young Independence tweeted last night: “YI elections were cancelled after I won the vote due to opposition to me. I won 62% of the 117 votes.”

In an email from the party’s national chairman Steve Crowther, Mr Neville was told that he was being removed from office by the party’s national executive for stating that European elections were a “sideshow”, that the real political action is in Westminster (where the party has no MPs) and that he supports same-sex marriage.

The email, now deleted from Mr Neville’s Twitter stream states: “Your stated position on Gay Marriage is quite simply completely at odds with the Party’s policy.

“Our policy on Gay Marriage is extremely important to us at this time. We have said specifically and repeatedly that we are opposed to the government’s proposals on this, and that the Prime Minister has got it spectacularly wrong.

“For you to say precisely the opposite, on national radio, as the representative of YI, is absolutely unacceptable, and risks seriously setting back the party’s current growth.”
While UKIP removes officials from office for supporting same-sex marriage, it doesn’t remove officials for spreading homophobic views.

Its candidate in the Croydon North by-election and official spokesperson for the policies carried out by the Department of Culture, Media, Sport and the Office, that includes the Government Office for Equalities, Winston McKenzie, said that same-sex adoption is child abuse. He added: “It is a violation of a child’s human rights because that child has no opportunity to grow up under normal circumstance.”

Although the party distanced itself from Mr McKenzie’s comments, it did not remove him from office. Its London chairman, David Coburn, an openly gay man who opposes same-sex marriage equality said: “We entirely, wholeheartedly support equal rights for couples regardless of their sexuality.”

Last year, UKIP candidate Dr Julia Gasper argued that the readers of PinkNews should be “sectioned” for mental health problems after we exposed her statements calling for gay people to express “gratitude” to straight people, on whom they are reliant to be born. While UKIP distanced itself from her comments, it left her in post.

The party also refused to discipline UKIP candidate Geoffrey Clark who called for the compulsory abortion of foetuses with Down’s syndrome or spina bifida.

UKIP is the only political party in England and Wales to officially oppose same-sex marriage other than the far right BNP (British National Party). Its leader Nigel Farage flagged his party’s plans to put this issue at the heart of its 2014 campaign for the European Parliamentary election. Last year he said: “David Cameron’s proposal has the potential to rip apart the traditional rural Tory vote.

“While UKIP wholly respects the rights of gay people to have civil partnerships, we feel the prime minister’s proposals will present an affront to millions of people in this country for whom this will be the final straw.

“The division between city and rural is absolutely huge. In my village pub in Kent they are just completely against.”

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