Ukip has dropped plans to appoint a notorious anti-gay Christian preacher as one of its parliamentary candidates, despite allegedly asking a local contender to stand aside.
George Hargreaves, the former Christian Party leader, was reportedly in the running to become the prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) for Ukip at the upcoming general election in the Coventry South, but widespread criticism led to the plan being abandoned.
Colin Stubbs, the Coventry Ukip branch chairman welcomed the decision. “I don’t know how George Hargreaves got involved with the party or how he was chosen. But we will put this behind us and the pressure now is on the elections,” he told the Coventry Telegraph.
Mr Hargreaves was previously a music producer and wrote the hit 1980s songs “So Macho” and “Cruising,” for gay-icon Sinitta.
He then went on to stand for the Scottish Parliament in 2007 as a Scottish Christian Party candidate against bisexual MSP Patrick Harvie, calling his sexuality “sinful” and said: “This is not about gay rights, it’s about gay wrongs.”
Ukip's confusing policies
Ukip's confusing policies
1/6 Deport migrants
Ukip MP Mark Reckless suggested he would deport existing EU migrants, a policy Nigel Farage rejected out of hand.
2/6 US-style NHS
Farage was caught on film in 2012 saying healthcare headed towards insurance-based system, though he has since said he would keep it free at the point of use.
3/6 Handbag tax
Ukip Economy spokesman Patrick O'Flynn said he would introduce a tax on high-price items like shoes, Nigel Farage disowned this idea.
4/6 Same-sex couple adoption
Ukip candidate Winston McKenzie likened adoption by same-sex couples to "child abuse", but the party rejects that view.
5/6 Gay marriage?
In early 2014 Ukip released a statement saying it would review its gay marriage policy, but later said that was an error.
6/6 Sex education u-turn
Nigel Farage told Leaders Live that he backed sex education for under-11s but later admitted that is not Ukip policy.
The colourful politician has also claimed that gays should “repent of their sins and turn to Christ,” according to Pink News.
Perhaps most bizarrely, when campaigning in the Welsh Assembly elections in 2007, he called for the country’s flag to be banned, calling it “nothing less than the sign of Satan” and added: “We will not allow this evil symbol of the devil to reign over Wales for another moment.”
The party’s previous candidate for the constituency, Mark Taylor, who stood aside for a new selection process to take place, was delighted to have been asked to contest the seat a second time for Ukip.
“I’m pleased because I was initially frustrated at being asked to stand aside by the national party HQ’s candidate team.” He told the local paper.
A Ukip party spokesman “categorically” denied that Mr Hargreaves was ever an official PPC for the party.