Baroness Knight shows no sign of looking to curb her bizarre attempts at making platitudes towards the gay community following her comments during the House of Lords equal marriage debate. In a new interview to The Independent she says it was wrong for David Cameron to apologise for Section 28.
Baroness Knight, who in the 1980s supported the introduction of the Section 28 law that prohibited the “promotion” of homosexuality, makes no apology for the policy. She insists that she was driven solely by a concern to protect children’s innocence.
The Conservative peer voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in last Tuesday’s House of Lords vote. She hit the headlines when she said a higher authority” than any peer, had “already decided that people are not equal”, because “some people can see, others are blind”.
She dismissed suggestions of homophobia on BBC Radio 5 Live by saying: “We’ve all got friends who are homosexuals. They are often extremely, very, very good at artistic things, very good at things like antiques, knowledgeable. No reason at all to say that they’re not loving.”
“One newspaper pilloried me for saying that homosexuals are artistic people, they’re very loving people – well, I was only saying what I believe, from my own homosexual friends,” Baroness Knight told The Independent at the weekend.
When asked by journalist Andy Smith “are gays really ‘good at antiques?’” the 89-year-old peer replied: “Oh, they’re wonderful, wonderful,” before adding that she knew “two” gay antique dealers.
Last week, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “The idea that all gay people are good at the arts and antiques is a silly generalisation. Dame Jill’s views are straight out of the bad old days of the 1950s. Gay people exist in all walks of life just like their heterosexual friends and family.”
Baroness Knight also revealed she had been friends with the controversial MP Enoch Powell, who was widely condemned for the “racist tone” of his 1968 “Rivers of Blood” speech. Powell wanted immigrants from Asia and the Caribbean returned to their countries of origin.
“I knew Enoch extremely well and had a very great deal of respect for Enoch,” Baroness Knight told The Independent. “I was on the Select Committee looking at immigration at that time. I know that a lot of immigrants wanted to go back home. He didn’t incite violence, he didn’t say he was going to cause blood on the streets, he said that there will be blood on the streets because people will get so angry.”