The UK Independence Party’s National Executive Committee has officially given approval to an affiliated LGBT campaign section of the party.

Under the slogan “Britain should be out and proud!” LGBTQ in UKIP aims to provide a “safe and social discussion space for LGBT members”.

Deputy chair and co-founder, Nathan Garbutt, said: “UKIP has come under criticism in the past for the views of one or two outspoken members. The formal approval from the NEC of our existence goes to show that UKIP does not have any issue with LGBT people.

He continued: “We believe that it doesn’t matter if you’re straight, gay, male, female, transgendered or identify with any other sexuality or orientation, if you share our vision for the future of this country, come and join us.”

The group’s first major event was at the recent UKIP annual national conference in Birmingham, where it took part in a fringe discussion about equal civil marriage.