Alice Arnold: UKIP’s selection of ‘homophobe’ Roger Helmer personifies the party’s ‘extremism’

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Broadcaster Alice Arnold says she’s deeply concerned by the homophobic views of UKIP’s Roger Helmer.

The MEP is standing to become an MP in the Newark by-election.

Writing for, Arnold said: “Helmer has a right to not like homosexuality. Believe me he is not alone.

“Whenever I write about equal marriage or gay rights I am bombarded with homophobic attacks.”

She continued: “I could attack back. I could have a go at Helmer and criticise him for all sorts of things he can’t help about himself, but I have no desire to stoop to his level.”

The former Radio 4 newsreader added: “What worries me about this whole sorry state of affairs is that UKIP is gaining ground in the polls and a disproportionate amount of media attention and publicity for their odious views.

“UKIP does not have a single MP in Parliament and yet one can’t turn on the television or radio for a single day without Nigel Farage cropping up.”

Arnold warned: “Whilst Farage tries in vein to present a somewhat acceptable side to his party and would deny that he is racist, sexist or homophobic, there seems to be no control over the expression of views of his followers.

“UKIP has become the outwardly acceptable banner of an extreme right wing faction of society. In the old days this was called The National Front but the National Front was not courted by the media.

“Yes, Farage makes good television. He is laughable and ridiculous and we can all enjoy the outrageous statements that his party spouts. We can laugh at them, but this is no laughing matter, or at least it won’t be if Helmer gets elected.”

Arnold said: “Helmer has tried to deny that UKIP is homophobic. Should we take comfort in the fact that UKIP is ‘absolutely opposed to prejudice, hostility and especially violence against any minority group”. ESPECIALLY violence!!!!!! So that’s alright then.”

Turning to next month’s by-election Arnold added: “The hope is that Helmer makes a pathetic showing in the by-election and loses his deposit. I doubt this will be the case. The very fact that he has been chosen to represent UKIP shows the extremism of the party.”

Yesterday, Roger Helmer insisted he is not homophobic and blamed his “traditional” upbringing for his infamous remarks.

The MEP’s candidacy to become an MP was announced by the party on Tuesday evening.

Last week he found himself at war with The Sun after the paper accused him of being a “bigot” over his views on homosexuality.

“Different people may have different tastes,” he said. “You may tell me that you don’t like Earl Grey tea. That may be a minority view but you are entitled not to like it if you don’t like it.”

The paper mentioned that Mr Helmer had said it was okay for people to find homosexuality “distasteful if not viscerally repugnant”.

It quoted his remarks made in 2000 while a Conservative MEP – in a pamphlet entitled ‘Straight Talking on Europe’.

He said: “The homosexual lobby wants to be accepted as a ‘valid alternative lifestyle’.

“I will argue homosexual behaviour is abnormal and undesirable.”

Asked on Tuesday if he stood by his comments, he replied: “Some people dislike it and this is a fact. Some people do all sorts of things, that doesn’t mean I commend them.”