UKIP’s former interim leader Suzanne Evans has waged a court battle against the party – after she was suspended for attacking a ‘gay cure’ candidate.
Ms Evans, who was interim leader of the UK Independence Party for three days last year before Nigel Farage ‘un-resigned’, has been critical of the party’s record of permitting anti-LGBT candidates
Last month, she told PinkNews that UKIP candidate and ‘gay cure’ therapy proponent Alan Craig should be removed, clashing with party leadership over the issue.
The UKIP leadership confirmed today that Ms Evans had been suspended for six months.
Among the ‘infringements’ listed against Ms Evans by the party is a breach of party rule J.3.14, which states “Party officials shall avoid any public criticism of other Party members online.”
Ms Evans had today sought an injunction at the High Court, seeking to stop her suspension from the party – but lost out in her legal bid.
In court documents seen by PinkNews, Ms Evans claimed that senior UKIP figures have pursued a “vendetta” against her, amid fears of a coup.
She notes that a number of other current UKIP candidates and MEPs also criticised Mr Craig and do not appear to have faced action.
Ms Evans contends: “I was engaged in expressing my right to free speech… a value which UKIP had supported when Mr Craig’s attendance and participation at the gay ‘cure’ events was criticised in the media.
“This is again evidence of the unequal treatment I have received of my unanticipated rapid growth in popularity within the party. UKIP is seeking to destroy my reputation with disciplinary action.”
Ms Evans had sought “an injunction preventing UKIP in abusing the disciplinary process to stifle my progression and reduce my standing within the party” – but her bid was rejected.
UKIP declined to comment on any of the allegations, but Nigel Farage told the BBC: “It’s unfortunate.
“She is someone who appeared front-facing for the party and gave UKIP a good look in many ways. Sometimes people fall out with their own party and sometimes say and do things that perhaps they shouldn’t.”
Elsewhere in her court documents, Ms Evans alleges that the party’s Scottish leader David Coburn – who is gay – ordered her to “keep out of Scotland”, and branded feminism a “waste of time”.
Mr Coburn has previously come under fire for a number of controversial comments – most notably comparing Muslim politician Humza Yousaf to terrorist Abu Hamza.