Suzanne Evans: I’m blocked from being UKIP leader because I challenged homophobia

UKIP’s Suzanne Evans says she has been blocked from standing for the party’s leadership, because she called out homophobia.

Ms Evans, the former Deputy Chairman of the UK Independence Party, had been one of a few pro-LGBT voices within UKIP, and was briefly its interim leader for a period of three days last year during which Nigel Farage resigned and un-resigned.

Mr Farage has today announced that he will quit as UKIP leader, but Ms Evans will be blocked from running to replace him as she is currently suspended.

Ms Evans was served with a suspension for ‘disloyalty’ earlier this year, after telling PinkNews that ‘gay cure’ UKIP candidate Alan Craig should be removed after the party leadership defended him.

Speaking to the BBC today, the politician said she would be unable to launch a leadership bid due to the action.

She said: “It’s nigh-on impossible for me to run, because I am suspended.

“I challenged homophobia in the party and as a result that was seen as being somehow disloyal, which still completely mystifies me, but there you are.

“I was suspended in March for six months, so I understand that would put me out of the running.”

She added: “I was surprised [with Nigel resigning] but I can see why he’s done it. Clearly he feels his lifetime’s work has been achieved and I quite understand that.”

The party’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall, an opponent of LGBT rights, is thought to be the frontrunner to replace him.

Last year he claimed that Labour’s plans for LGBT-inclusive education in schools are “politically correct nonsense”.

Mr Nuttall claimed that inclusive sex and relationship education would “confuse and worry these little children”, claiming: “Children deserve their innocence, which is precious and already under attack from every direction. It needs to be protected not defiled by those tasked with their care.

“If [Labour MP] Tristram Hunt thinks this is a progressive move he is totally wrong and his justification that it will help tackle homophobic bullying is just politically correct nonsense.”

Mr Nuttall previously insisted that people living with HIV should not be allowed to enter Britain.

He was savaged by HIV charities after claiming that “the cost of treating someone with HIV in the UK is estimated at around £18,000 per year” and that people with HIV “should be barred from long term stay”.

He also previously directed his party to appeal to disaffected Tory and Labour voters who opposed gay marriage.