Ex-UKIP MEP joins homophobic far-right EU Parliament group
An MEP who was expelled from UKIP over an expenses scandal has joined a far-right grouping alongside a number of homophobic parties.
Janice Atkinson, an MEP for South East England, was expelled from UKIP for bringing the party into disrepute in March, over allegations of bogus expenses claims – but continues to sit in the European Parliament.
Ms Atkinson has previously called for the role of Minister for Women and Equalities to be scrapped – and famously referred to an Asian woman as a “ting-tong from somewhere”.
Despite being expelled from UKIP, Ms Atkinson has been appointed as vice-president of the far-right ‘Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom’ group in the European Parliament – which includes France’s homophobic Front National.
Former FN leader Jean-Marie Le Pen previously described homosexuality as a “biological and social anomaly”, arguing that all individuals with AIDS should be kept in isolation.
Marine Le Pen took over from her father as head of the nationalist, anti-immigrant Front National (FN) in 2011, and has since spearheaded a campaign to ‘detoxify’ the party, which picked up 23 European Parliament seats in last year’s election.
However, the party is still routinely accused of homophobia, and opposes gay rights and same-sex marriage – with members taking part in large anti-gay marriage demonstrations in 2013.
Other members of the MENF grouping include Italy’s Lega Nord, the Freedom Party of Austria, and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang – all of whom are far-right parties opposed to gay rights, with some described as “extremists”.
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