UKIP Assembly Member ‘not fit for elected office’ after anti-gay comments, says senior UKIP official

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A UKIP member of the London Assembly has been described as “not fit for elected office” by the party’s former Deputy Chair, after “utterly disgraceful” comments about gay people.

PinkNews broke the news earlier today that David Kurten, an elected member of the London Assembly and a candidate for UKIP leader, had made comments linking homosexuality to childhood sexual abuse.

David Kurten and Nigel Farage

David Kurten and Nigel Farage (Photo by Mary Turner/Getty Images)

Mr Kurten, who is backed by influential Leave.EU donor Arron Banks, had claimed: “[Sexuality] is unlikely to be fixed at birth. Study after study also shows that the incidence of homosexuality is much higher among people who have been sexually abused as children.

“This is an issue which needs to be addressed but is not because of political correctness.”

Mr Kurten also vowed to fight for a new ban on same-sex marriage, which threatens to void the thousands of existing same-sex marriages in the UK.

Speaking to PinkNews, UKIP’s former Deputy Chair Suzanne Evans described Mr Kurten as “not fit for elected office” – despite him being one of the party’s few remaining elected figures.

Ms Evans told PinkNews: “David Kurten’s comments are utterly disgraceful.

“Sadly I am not surprised by them: Kurten has on numerous occasions shown himself to be vehemently opposed to homosexuality, yet as a protege of Nigel Farage, thrust forward onto the London Assembly, his obvious flaws have so far been ignored.

“In my opinion he is not fit for elected office nor leadership of a political party.”

Her comments were echoed by Peter Whittle, who is the party’s only other elected Assembly Member.

Mr Whittle said: “This is so wrong on every level. Neither I, nor any of the gay friends and colleagues I have known over 35 years, were sexually abused.”

In a statement, the leaders of the LGBT* in UKIP group said: “Today, LGBT* in UKIP have been made aware of the disgraceful, offensive, homophobic and transphobic comments published by PinkNews quoting David Kurten.

“We call for those who are vetting the leadership candidates to be made aware of these remarks and that they are taken into consideration whilst the panel determine the candidates application.

“Further to this, we call for immediate suspension pending full investigation with purpose to review such comments as a representative of the party, not only as an Education spokesperson but also a London Assembly member.”

Responding to a written Q&A, Mr Kurten had vowed to fight for the “restoration” of marriage as between one man and one woman, which threatens to void the thousands of existing same-sex marriages in the UK.

He said: “I personally believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. If there were a free vote in Parliament I would vote to restore this definition of marriage.”

Asked if he believes sexual orientation is “fixed at birth”, Mr Kurten insisted that it is the result of childhood sexual abuse.

He said: “The latest scientific studies show that incidence of homosexuality in adults decreases with age, so it is unlikely to be fixed at birth.

“Study after study also shows that the incidence of homosexuality is much higher among people who have been sexually abused as children. This is an issue which needs to be addressed but is not because of political correctness.”

The leadership hopeful also suggested that kids who come out as gay should be put through ‘counselling’ at school.

He wrote: “Counseling involving parents should be offered on a one to one basis for children aged 13 – 16 who wish to discuss sexual orientation.”

The candidate also said “reasonable accommodations” should be offered to people who oppose LGBT equality.

He wrote: “Yes. Reasonable accommodation should allow people to express support for traditional marriage without fear of penalty.

“Pharmacists should also be allowed to refrain from selling abortion pills; midwives and doctors should not have to perform abortions, and Catholic adoption agencies should be allowed to re-open and serve male/female married couples only.”

A spokesperson for Mr Kurten confirmed to PinkNews that the answers were genuine.

The answers on the Support 4 the Family website, which is coincidentally run by Mr Kurten’s campaign manager, have now been quietly revised, after an enquiry from PinkNews.

The comments come days after Mr Kurten vowed to shift the party aggressively against transgender rights.

He told Buzzfeed that UKIP could take advantage of the Tories “[deciding] to start pushing gender queer theory on primary schools.”

He added: “People don’t want their children to be confused by this kind of thing.

“I will take UKIP in the direction of standing against the militant transgender activism that’s happening at the moment.”

Mr Kurten previously said the government should ban teaching about “non-reproductive sexual acts” under the age of consent, effectively banning discussion of homosexuality in the classroom.

He said: “We must protect our children from damaging and confusing fringe ideologies which sexualise children at an early age and confuse their natural development as boys and girls – both in primary, secondary and even pre-schools.

“No one would have thought 10 years ago that it would ever be considered politically incorrect to call children boys or girls, to call parents mothers or fathers, or if you say there are two biological sexes determined by your chromosomes rather than 40 or 50 or 60 different genders then this is on the way to being considered a hate crime.

“Of course it isn’t. It’s science.”

Three of the candidates in the leadership race – London Assembly member Peter Whittle, Scotland leader David Coburn, and anti-Islam activist Anne Marrie Waters – are openly gay, though not necessarily in support of LGBT rights.

Mr Whittle was considered the frontrunner in the race, though Mr Kurten has been bolstered by the backing of mega-wealthy donor Arron Banks.

The struggling party has churned its way through a string of leaders in the past two years – with the reigns passing between Nigel Farage, Suzanne Evans (whose acting leadership was revoked before she even took up the post), Nigel Farage, Diane James, Nigel Farage, Paul Nuttall and current interim leader Steve Crowther.

Another candidate in the leadership race famously claimed a gay donkey raped his horse.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage recently insisted that Donald Trump “had a point” when he banned transgender people from the US military.