Nigel Farage: Attempts to paint UKIP as homophobic have come to nothing

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

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has addressed accusations of homophobia in his party, pointing out its LGBT group, and an appearance by former boxing promoter Kellie Maloney at UKIP’s spring conference.

Speaking to Andrew Neil on the Sunday Politics on BBC One, Farage said “attempts by the media and everyone else to paint UKIP out to be homophobic frankly come to nothing.”

Asked about a number of controversies recently, including a former UKIP councillor who was expelled for ranting about “negroes”, as well as the resignation of the head of UKIP’s LGBT group, Farage noted that the group has over 600 members.

“Lets deal with the gay rights issue first, shall we. We have an LGBT group wihin UKIP and it’s now got over 600 members. Last week two were selected as parliamentary candidates in South London. Additionally we had Kellie Maloney, formerly Frank Maloney, appearing on our platform yesterday explaining transgender issues to an audience who perhaps didn’t know much about it. Kellie Maloney received a standing ovation.

“So repeated attempts by the media and everyone else to paint UKIP out to be homophobic frankly come to nothing.”

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

When asked by Andrew Neil why Booker had quit, Farage replied: “Do you know something, in voluntary organisations people come and people go. This young man has for three years held that post, and it’s slightly ironic that he’s walked away from it just when his hard work has come to fruition.”

When pushed on whether there is a “gay-friendly tone” in UKIP, he continued:  “I don’t set a male-friendly agenda, I don’t set a female-friendly agenda, I don’t set a gay agenda. I don’t set an agenda for all sorts of different minorities and interest groups – I think the most important thing is that in this country we all live together equally under the law.”

Last week, leaflets distributed by the ‘Christian Soldiers in UKIP’ group at the party’s spring conference in Margate claimed that the state was allowing “sexual grooming” of primary school children by educating them about the issues.

Meanwhile, a statement from LGBTQ* in UKIP – which recently appointed a new leader after former Booker quit the party – savaged the leaflets.