Another Ukip public figure leaves party amid same sex marriage row
Another Ukip public figure has been forced out of the party after expressing support for gay marriage, days after the party sacked their youth leader, who spoke out on the issue on national radio.
Richard Lowe, Ukip's prospective parliamentary candidate for Chester, says he was forced to resign after local party leaders said they would not campaign for "anyone who publicly supports same sex marriage".
Mr Lowe had recently written a letter to local newspaper the Chester Standard, expressing his support for equal marriage. Opposition to gay marriage is Ukip party policy, but Mr Lowe said the issue should be "a matter of conscience".
Mr Lowe said that local party leaders told him that they objected to his views on several matters including his lukewarm anti-EU stance and his support for immigration. However, Mr Lowe believes his position on gay marriage was "the straw that broke the camel's back".
"They said that after all that, they couldn't campaign for anyone who publicly supports same sex marriage. As such, I felt I had no choice but to resign," he told The Independent.
Ukip spokesman Gawain Towler said Mr Lowe's resignation was his own choice.
"To say he was forced to resign is wrong. Three people in the local branch committee spoke to him and said 'would you resign?' No-one forced him to," he said. "People can hold any views they wish within the party, but when you speak on behalf of the party you should back the views of the party. That is normal in any political party."
Earlier this week Olly Neville, the leader of Young Independence, the Ukip youth group, was stripped of his post after expressing his support for gay marriage in a BBC Radio 4 interview. He also said that EU elections should not be a priority for the party.
Writing in The Independent, Mr Neville said that Ukip was "on the wrong side of history" on gay marriage.
Ukip, which characterises itself as a libertarian party and was described as a "party of eccentrics" by its leader Nigel Farage earlier this week, is hoping to attract Conservative voters alienated by the party leadership's support of gay marriage. Ukip chairman Steve Crowther has called the policy "extremely important" to the party.
* More than 1,000 priests signed a letter in The Daily Telegraph today voicing concerns that same-sex marriage could threaten religious freedoms and may even lead to Roman Catholics being excluded from jobs. In the letter, they claim that same-sex marriage could threaten freedoms in a way that was last seen during the centuries of persecution of Catholics in England.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...