New LGBT UKIP Chair: I won’t defend candidates’ homophobic comments

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The new Chair of UKIP’s LGBT group has said she will not “defend” homophobic comments made by UKIP members.

Former Chair of LGBTQ* in UKIP Tom Booker quit this week and renounced his party membership- citing “dissatisfaction at the failure of the leadership to set a gay-friendly tone”.

Flo Lewis, who will replace Mr Brooker, has spoken about her plans for the group.

When asked about UKIP’s history of homophobic scandals, Ms Lewis – who is a lesbian – told PinkNews: “I would certainly not defend any comments made that incite hatred towards any person or group of the population.”

The activist added that homophobia was a problem for all parties, saying: “I simply ask for all individuals regardless of sexuality, race or religion to look beyond the few negative reports in the knowledge that if you look at any political organisation there are surplices of examples of people in positions of authority that make statements that are deemed offensive.

“I would like [to] assure the LGBT* community that in UKIP any such individuals are dealt with in the appropriate manner, and along with my committee members I will continue to see that this is done.

“I hope to not only educate the members of UKIP about LGBT* issues and concerns but also challenge the perceptions the LGBT* community have regarding UKIP.”

She told PinkNews of her predecessor: “I am saddened to see Thomas leave. He is a fantastic individual and I am honoured to be chosen to step into his shoes.

“Within UKIP there is a great support network for LGBT*. I believe that by bridging any gaps with education and debates our support will continue to grow.”

Tory Chair Grant Shapps recently told PinkNews that the Conservative party has “very few” diciplinary cases due to homophobia.

He said: “Fortunately, as party chairman it’s not something I’ve had to deal with at all – we have very few disciplinary cases.

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