The Mayor of Antrim has been barred from standing as an Ulster Unionist candidate, because, he claims, he is not “politically correct” enough for the Tories.
The Ulster Unionist Party has an electoral alliance with the Conservative Party and Adrian Watson, who has been accused of homophobia in the past, was dropped from standing this week when UUP officers vetoed his nomination.
In 2006, he told BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan show that he would not allow gay and lesbian couples to stay at his guest house.
Mr Watson said: “This is a bed and breakfast in a family home with three young children. Common sense has to prevail.”
He added that although he believed in “total tolerance”, he would feel “uncomfortable” having gay couples around his 14-year-old daughter.
Mr Watson denied being homophobic but said that he had been barred from standing for the seat because he was not a “Cameron cutie”.
He told the Belfast Telegraph today: “I have been accused by the Conservatives of being anti-gay and too Orange.
“I’m not anti-gay, I wouldn’t discriminate against anyone because of their gender, race or religion and I’ve proved that time and time again.”
He added: “My face just didn’t fit. I’m very much a local South Antrim man. I am not a Cameron-cutie, as somebody described it.
“I put forward my opinion, but unfortunately my views did not meet the political correctness of the new Conservative Party.”
Mr Watson claimed that “anonymous senior Conservatives” had ensuring his 2006 remarks about gay couples were “given prominence”.
He also attacked the electoral alliance with the Tories, saying it was a “gimmick” that would lead to the “undoing” of the UUP.