Nigel Farage: It’s fine to have ‘barmy’ views on gay marriage in UKIP but please follow party rules

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UKIP leader Nigel Farage says he took action against a UKIP councillor in Oxfordshire because he ignored requests to stop talking to the media about his “barmy” views on same-sex marriage. 

In a letter to his local paper, David Silvester claimed that allowing gay couples to marry would lead to flooding and that David Cameron ignored his warning.

He said Mr Cameron had acted “arrogantly against the Gospel”.

“People are entitled to have religious opinions and I’ve always been pretty liberal about that,” Nigel Farage told the BBC’s World at One programme. “I don’t know Mr Silvester but I understand that he is a practicing Baptist, that he’s very strongly opposed to gay marriage and I understand and respect that. People should have the right to hold that view.

“However, linking it in with the bad weather is heading towards the barmy edge”.

Asked if Mr Silvester was an extremist, Mr Farage joked: “You can draw whatever conclusion you want.

“The problem with Mr Silvester is that he keeps on repeating it, repeating it and repeating it.”

When challenged if he had shown weak leadership in not disciplining Mr Silvester sooner, Mr Farage replied: “The truth of the story is that he made those comments, I was less than happy with them, I’ve sent him a message to say ‘look. Don’t agree with you, I think this is really rather silly.” The UKIP leader told Mr Silvester to “please desist” in order to avoid bring the party into “disrepute”. But the councillor “went on repeating it”.

Mr Farage, MEP for the South East, said: “Actually, in a sense, the action that was taking against Mr Silvester was done so for disciplinary reasons not just because of his own views.”

Speaking ahead of his World at One interview, Mr Farage accused the media of unfairly highlighting the views of Mr Silvester.

“I think it is very interesting that, when Mr Silvester was saying these things in 2012 and 2013 as a Conservative town councillor in Henley, it was not a news story,” he said.

In contrast to Mr Farage’s claims, PinkNews reported on Mr Silvester’s anti-gay remarks when he was a Tory councillor in February 2013.

In December 2012, PinkNews also reported how Mr Silvester had written a letter to David Cameron invoking the PM’s Christian faith as a reason why he should abandon plans to introduce equal marriage.

This afternoon the UKIP leader was hit over the head by angry protesters in Kent. He has been interviewed by police about the incident.

UKIP’s official position is that it supports same-sex civil partnerships but opposes same-sex marriages. The first same-sex marriages will be held in March of this year.

Weather-related parodies of Mr Silvester’s remarks have been doing the rounds on social media.

Mr Farage has also agreed for the first time to participate in a question and answer session with PinkNews readers ahead of May’s European election.

Questions can be submitted here.