UKIP candidate offers to organise Pride event

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David Hodgson has responded to claims he failed to attend an LGBT hustings by offering to organise a Pride event.

UKIP Darlington, where Mr Hodgson is standing for election, claimed he had not received invites to two hustings events – one focused on the environment, the other on LGBT issues.

They said on their Facebook page: “It may be of considerable interest to our supporters that David Hodgson did not receive any official invitation or notification to attend the two previous hustings despite the fact that his personal contact details are widely publicised.

“It would never be the intention of Mr Hodgson to ignore any Hustings as they are a vital method of communicating with voters be he cannot be expected to respond to any unofficial or spurious invite.”

Mr Hodgson later told The Northern Echo he had recieved an invite to the environmental debate, but not the LGBT event – although the organisers claim otherwise. He also expressed interested in hosting a Pride event in Darlington.

He said: “Gay and lesbian people have my support and sympathy as I have gay friends myself and go through to Blackpool for gay pride events there.”

Organiser of the LGBT hustings Emma Roebuck said: “I sent invites to all candidates and have no reason to think UKIP did not receive theirs.

“The hustings was an opportunity to speak face-to-face with them about these issues and I’m not going to turn that down.”

Mr Hodgson’s support for Pride events is at odds with much of the rest of his party. A Christian UKIP group recently declared Manchester Pride a “parade of depravity.” 

Yesterday UKIP defended the lack of LGBT representation in their manifesto as they are a “special interest group”.