UKIP’s LGBT Chair quits: ‘I couldn’t defend the party any more’

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

PinkNews Exclusive
The Chair of UKIP’s official LGBT group has quit his role and resigned his party membership.

Tom Booker, who has led the group for three years, announced that he would step away from the party after a string of anti-gay comments from UKIP politicians.

He tweeted: “Last night I stepped down as Chairman of LGBT* in UKIP and gave up my membership of #ukip. I’ll remain unaffiliated…for now 😉

“I found that I couldn’t defend the party or convincingly campaign for it any more. It became increasingly difficult for me to argue for a non-Classical Liberal manifesto.”

He said in a statement to PinkNews: “I stepped down from my position as Founder-Chairman of LGBT* in UKIP, and resigned my membership of UKIP, due to disillusionment of policy direction and dissatisfaction at the failure of the leadership to set a gay-friendly tone.

“I also now wish to focus more time on my career development and personal life.

“I am proud of my contribution to UKIP. The new LGBT* in UKIP committee is excellent, and I hope that the enthusiasm and dedication of the committee will take the group to new heights.

“I would like to wish them all the best.”

The former UKIPper will be replaced as Chair by Flo Lewis, while Nathan Garbutt will continue as the group’s Vice-Chair.

UKIP recently shelved plans to stand a notoriously anti-gay Christian preacher as a candidate.

The party had asked its existing Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Coventry South, to stand aside  – reportedly to make way for former Christian Party leader George Hargreaves.

However, the party later dropped plans to run Mr Hargreaves, who believes gays should “repent and turn to Christ”, and re-instated the original candidate.