UKIP politician blasts own party as ‘vehicle for hate’ towards gay people
Another UKIP politician has quit the party, branding it a “vehicle of hate” towards gay people and Muslims.
The pro-Brexit UK Independence Party has faced an exodus of moderate members and officials after its new leader Gerard Batten led a drive to adopt more extreme stances and admit members with links to white supremacists.
The party unveiled a divisive new manifesto last month that included pledges to gut LGBT+ rights laws and ban inclusive sex education in primary schools. Senior UKIP officials at the party’s conference described transgender-inclusive education as “child abuse.”
UKIP Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Bill Etheridge announced his resignation from the party on Tuesday, just days after the departure of fellow MEP William Dartmouth.
In a resignation letter addressed to Batten, Etheridge said: “The changes you have made since becoming leader have changed the party beyond all recognition. You have allowed your personal obsessions free reign.
“The party is now seen by large swathes of the British public as a vehicle for hate towards Muslims and the gay community.”
The letter raised objections to Batten’s manifesto policies which “you and your entourage have imposed.”
Etheridge added: “While there is a place for extreme nationalist and reactionary views in politics and I defend the right of you and others to hold and express your opinions, I do not believe these were the opinions and policies that UKIP MEPs were elected to represent.”
The MEP had been a rare proponent of LGBT+ rights within UKIP, calling on the party over several years to embrace rights reforms and clamp down on a spate of homophobic candidates.
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