Ukip suspends councillor David Silvester who blamed floods on David Cameron passing gay marriage bill

Party officials act after Mr Silvester gave radio interview saying he ‘prays gay people will be healed’

Ukip has suspended a councillor who blamed the recent floods on the passage of the gay marriage bill, after he continued to give interviews “promoting his own controversial views”.

David Silvester, a councillor for Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, had written to a local paper claiming the country had been “beset by storms” because of David Cameron’s decision to act “arrogantly against the Gospel” in changing marriage laws.

He was told by the party to stop airing his personal beliefs, yet proceeded to appear live on BBC Radio Berkshire saying he “prayed for gay people to be healed”.

Mr Silvester said the new law, paving the way for the first gay marriages in Britain this spring, was the latest mistake which would anger God - following on from abortion laws, which he likened to the Holocaust.

In the radio interview, he said: “I don't have a problem with gay people.

“I believe as a Christian I should love gay people and, indeed, I do. My prayer for them is they will be healed.

“I believe that is what the Apostle Paul said in the New Testament, he said some of you are gay but you have been healed. There is healing for the gay condition and I believe a Christian should long for gay people to be healed and to have normal heterosexual lives.

“It is nonsense to say it is homophobic. If you love a person enough to want them to be healed and to have a proper family, that is hardly homophobic.

“It is a spiritual disease... it's not what I say, it's what the Bible says.”

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he would be vetting election candidates to remove 'extremist, nasty or barmy' views from the party Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he would be vetting election candidates to remove 'extremist, nasty or barmy' views from the party Mr Silvester, who defected to Ukip from the Conservative Party, said he was convinced that there were “repercussions for a nation persisting in what is wrong”, and that he had clear beliefs “there are things that are right and wrong”.

“Over the years we have done many things that have caused problems,” he said.

“One, for example, is the abortion laws in which something like six million children, as many as the people killed by the Nazis in the death camps, have been killed as a result of the abortion laws.

“Now, this is a process. The latest in this process is these homosexual laws and the homosexual marriage.”

Despite supporting Mr Silvester following his initial comments, Ukip has now used emergency powers to suspend him.

The party’s south east chairman Roger Bird said the councillor had acted “contrary to party requests and continued to court the media”.

“We cannot have any individual using the Ukip banner to promote their controversial personal beliefs which are not shared by the party,” Mr Bird said.

The Conservative District Councillor for Henley, William Hall, told The Independent: “Many people in the town feel embarrassed to be associated with the content of his letter.

“The more Ukip supporters see of the real party the more I hope they realise that underneath the varnish is a seriously unpleasant organisation.”

Mr Silvester's suspension came as Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he had launched a clear-out to remove from the party anyone with “extremist, nasty or barmy views”.

Mr Farage told the Sun on Sunday all 1,818 candidates running in elections for Ukip would be vetted, while insisting that “of all the candidates we fielded, only about half a dozen have caused us any embarrassment”.

Why David Silvester has been suspended from Ukip

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones