Former chair of UKIP’s LGBT group labels the party a ‘cult’

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The former chair of the LGBT group for UKIP has branded the party a “cult” that is “too willing to entertain bigots”

Tom Booker, who founded and chaired LGBT in UKIP, publicly quit his position and rescinded his party membership last month, citing “dissatisfaction at the failure of the leadership to set a gay-friendly tone”.

In an interview with BuzzFeed,  he attacked party leader Nigel Farage for failing to engage with the group, despite using them as a defence in interviews.

He also cited the party’s refusal to cut ties with ‘Christian Soldiers of UKIP’, which distributed extreme homophobic leaflets calling Manchester pride an “annual parade of depravity”.

Mr Booker said: “The fact that the party couldn’t be bothered to act when it came to Christian Soldiers and what they were putting out was the point at which I said, ‘This group I’ve set up, they’re just using it as a defence’.

“And it was done in Nigel’s piece in The Independent, saying, ‘I’m glad to hear we’ve got an LGBT UKIP society; we’re very inclusive’, when he’s never spoken to us. We were good PR for them.

“The party never spoke to us. It was very much [an attitude of] ‘We’ll leave you to your own devices’.

“The party would never come to us to ask us what we thought.”

He also expressed anger at Farage’s claim that only people who do not have HIV should be allowed in the UK.

Mr Booker said: “It was completely ignorant of people with HIV and the medical advances made.

“It’s rhetoric like that that will set back advancement and changing perceptions of people with HIV by 20 years.

“The party never admitted it was wrong on same-sex marriage policy… There was no apology for the HIV comments.”

He added: “UKIP has become like a cult […]. Look at the support base who fawn over Farage.

“Any criticism is either labelled as ‘media bias’ or ‘loony-lefty nonsense’. There seems to be no room for criticism, and there is a lot to criticise.”

“It’s a very cynical, a very negative way of doing politics and for a cult I think that’s very dangerous.”

Mr Booker also revealed that the LGBT group had never been consulted on the party’s approach to same-sex marriage