UKIP refuses to condemn candidate who plans to speak at ‘gay cure’ event

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The UK Independence Party has defended a candidate who is set to speak at an event for people trying to cure “unwanted same-sex attraction”.

Former Christian Peoples Alliance leader Alan Craig was this week confirmed as the UK Independence Party’s candidate for Brent North, as a last-minute replacement for existing candidate Martin Ferguson.

PinkNews revealed yesterday that Mr Craig is set to speak on Tuesday at a ‘gay cure’ conference, run by the Core Issues Trust in central London.

The event is described as “an interactive conference event exploring unwanted same-sex attractions” – and Mr Craig is set to take part in a panel on “resisting indoctrination” alongside Christian anti-gay activists.

However, the UK Independence Party has refused to condemn Mr Craig.

Although the party’s official spokesman did not return a request for comment from PinkNews, he told the Mail: “Mr Craig is not representative of Ukip’s view on this matter. But as a party that believes in freedom of speech he has the right to speak.”

The Conservative candidate for Brent North, Luke Parker, told PinkNews yesterday: “I don’t actually think it’s funny… this is a very serious and growing party, and they’ve transgressed into a party of hate.

“UKIP selection policy seems to be based on finding people who can get as many other people as possible angry about who they want to hate this week.”

He joked: “I wonder if there’s aversion therapy that can stop you being a bigot. If there is, maybe we can set it up so every time someone looks at a UKIP leaflet, they get an electric shock.”

The Green Party’s candidate, Scott Bartle, added: “The only ‘conversion’ the Green Party is interested in is from a bigoted society, to one where we’ve put an end to discrimination of people due to their sexuality and protect non-binary rights.

“Sadly (and ironically for UKIP) it is prejudiced attitudes of people such as Mr Craig that contribute towards people seeking asylum in the UK because of the criminalisation, discrimination and violence they experience in their own countries.

“It’s time to end this culture of disbelief which has not only denied LGBTIQ people of their refugee status but resulted in needless deaths, including that of Leelah Alcorn.”

Lib Dem candidate Paul Lorber said: “Nick Clegg has made the Liberal Democrat position on the dangerous nonsense of the ‘gay cure’ therapy very clear. I agree with Nick.

“UKIP has attracted many ‘odd balls’ and Alan Craig is clearly one of them.”

Labour candidate Barry Gardiner did not immediately respond.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently spoke out about ‘gay cure’ therapy, telling PinkNews in a Q&A that it was “dangerous nonsense”.

Responding to a question from Telegraph boss Lord Guy Black of Brentwood, Mr Clegg said: “It is grossly offensive to me that anyone could think gay people need to be ‘cured’.

“If anything needs curing, it is the outdated belief that being gay is wrong or something to be ashamed of. Sexuality is not an illness but an inherent part of who you are.

“Most people now recognise conversion therapy as dangerous nonsense, but we do need to challenge any remaining counsellors who believe they can ‘treat’ homosexuality.

“Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat Health Minister, helped bring together leading organisations across the NHS, medical and psychological professions to sign up to a new Memorandum of Understanding.

“This made clear that conversion therapy is unethical, potentially harmful and cannot be provided within the NHS. I wouldn’t rule out further action if necessary.”