UKIP’s pro-gay MP Mark Reckless defeated by Tories

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UK Independence Party politician Mark Reckless – who voted in favour of same-sex marriage while a Conservative MP – has lost his seat to his old party.

Mr Reckless was elected as a Tory MP in Rochester and Strood in 2010, before last year defecting to UKIP and retaining the seat in a by-election.

However, the politician – who unlike UKIP’s other Tory defector Douglas Carswell voted in favour of same-sex marriage in 2013 – could not manage to pull out a third election victory, suffering a defeat to his own former party.

Conservative Kelly Tolhurst, who lost out to Mr Reckless by 2920 votes in November last year, managed to capitalise on strong Tory support and a lack of vigorous campaigning from UKIP.

Mr Reckless received 16,009 votes, compared to 23,142 for Ms Tolhurst.

So far the party has two seats, with Mr Carswell – who previously described same-sex marriage as “arrogant” – retaining his seat in Clacton.

UKIP is the only one of the main UK-wide parties to have pledged an anti-LGBT policy, with the party’s Christian Manifesto – which was not released to the press – calling for a ‘conscience’ law to weaken equality legislation, and accommodate the beliefs of people who oppose gay rights.

Nigel Farage has also been accused of “ducking” gay rights issues by pulling out of a planned Q&A with PinkNews, making him the only UK-wide party leader to not take part.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon have all answered questions from PinkNews readers – but PinkNews understands that Mr Farage refused to do so.