UKIP leadership hopeful told gays she’d support LGBT rights while pledging to oppose them

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UKIP leadership hopeful Diane James told the party’s LGBT group that she’d support equality while telling Christian campaigners she would help weaken equality laws.

PinkNews reported earlier this week that UKIP leadership hopeful Diane James backed equality in a Q&A with LGBT supporters – insisting she had “no problem at all” with same-sex marriage as “it is now enshrined in UK legislation”.

Ms James said at the time she would support the inclusion of pro-LGBT policies in the party’s manifesto, and appeared critical of the party’s ‘conscience clause’ pledge in 2015 to permit anti-LGBT discrimination.

The MEP said she would “ensure that the right balance is achieved in our next GE manifesto re content, slant and statements on aspects that our opposition will select to continue to use to reinforce [the view UKIP is homophobic]”.

She also suggested the party bolster scrutiny of candidates to weed out homophobes, including “proper process, systems and preparation”.

However, some of her answers appear to fly in the face of those she gave in a separate Q&A with the group ‘Christian Action UKIP’, which was set up by ‘gay cure’ UKIP candidate Alan Craig.

In that Q&A, Ms James pledged to “extend the legal concept of ‘reasonable accommodation’ to give protection in law to those expressing a religious conscience in the workplace on same-sex marriage”.

She also reaffirmed the party’s Christian Manifesto, which included the controversial ‘conscience clause’ to permit anti-LGBT discrimination, despite telling the LGBT group that “balance” was needed on the same issue.

The MEP also agreed that  “we need a much more muscular defence of our Christian heritage” and that UKIP believes “Christianity should be recognised by Government at all levels”.

Elsewhere in the Q&A, Ms James also pledged to “stop sex education in primary schools” and backed “the rights of parents to smack their children within the context of reasonable chastisement.”

A spokesperson for Ms James confirmed to PinkNews that the answers are genuine.