Brexit Party’s Ann Widdecombe claims her anti-gay views were ‘distorted and twisted’ as she actually has lots of gay friends

Brexit Party candidate Ann Widdecombe, who believes that homosexuality can be cured, has claimed that she cannot be anti-gay because she has “lots of gay friends.”

On November 22 Ann Widdecombe was interviewed on LBC radio by Iain Dale, a gay man. She was asked about her ‘homophobic’ reputation when listeners questioned Dale’s tolerance for her.

“People are tweeting, how can I as a gay man interview you, who they regard as bigoted against gay people?” Dale said. “Why do you have this reputation for being anti-gay?”

Widdecombe grew defensive, replying: “Because any time I say anything at all it is distorted and twisted, as the most recent example was, and I’m not going to go through it again, it is distorted and twisted into something that I have never said.”

Widdecombe is likely referring to a 2012 article she wrote lamenting that conversion therapy to make people “become heterosexual” was being denied to “unhappy homosexuals.”

She defended these comments on Sky News in June this year, saying: “The fact we now think it’s quite impossible for people to switch sexuality doesn’t mean science may not yet produce an answer at some stage.”

Same-sex attraction is not something that can or should be cured. So-called ‘conversion therapies’ have been described as a form of psychological torture and are strongly condemned by all major UK health organisations.

Dale and Widdecombe in the LBC studio (LBC)

Widdecombe insisted that she wasn’t bigoted against gay people as she counts several gay people among her friends.

“I go further, you know that I have lots of gay friends, I go further,” she told Dale. “If I thought half of what social media claims I thought, you and all my other gay friends wouldn’t want anything to do with me, would you?”

“No,” Dale replied dryly, “But somehow I do.” Dale has reportedly been friends with Widdecombe for 20 years.

But having gay friends in no way immunises you against being homophobic, as Widdecombe herself proved when she went on to explain that she is still against same-sex marriage.

“The world hasn’t ended [after the advent of same-sex marriage], but I still believe in traditional marriage,” she said.

“Now, that is the teaching of the Catholic Church, I’m a Catholic, I could get all uptight and say, ‘Oh it’s religious discrimination.’ I don’t, but equally I’m not going to get into this now, because I know that anything I say will be taken down, twisted out of all recognition and then used in evidence against me.

“So end of. End of.”

Dale continued to press Widdecombe on the subject, asking her if she would repeal same-sex marriage if she had a chance to do so.

“No, of course not. That would be daft. Can you imagine the legal muddle that would eventuate from that?” replied Widdecombe, who is currently fighting for Brexit, arguably the biggest ‘legal muddle’ the UK has ever faced.

And she “doubt[s] very much” that the Brexit Party will include any policies on LGBT+ issues in their manifesto, “because all those things have been done that you’ve talked about so I see no reason why they should have a policy on it.”

Fortunately, several other major UK parties have included extensive policies on LGBT+ rights reforms in their manifestos.