UKIP ‘Gay marriage caused storms’ councillor is now praying for gay people ‘to be healed’
Councillor David Silvester shows no sign of contrition over his decision to link equal marriage with flooding, saying he will pray for gay people “to be healed”.
He suspended the Oxfordshire councillor from the party last week, but has repeatedly claimed the councillor’s views against equal marriage were ignored when he was a Tory.
Actor and author Nicholas Pegg recently recorded a spoof Radio 4 Shipping Forecast, aimed at mocking UKIP’s latest blunder.
Defending his initial comments about equal marriage and flooding, Mr Silvester told BBC Radio Berkshire: “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.”
He told the Henley Standard: “I understand there has been a petition to have me removed from my post as a councillor but I have no intention of resigning. I don’t see any need to apologise and I stand by what I said.
“I was elected for a four-year term of office and I have every intention of continuing to work hard for the people of Henley in that capacity. If UKIP no longer require my services, my intention will be to serve as an independent.
“As regards resigning from UKIP, I still have not been informed personally that I have been suspended and until I am I shall regard myself as a fully paid-up member of the party, to whom I recently made a £170 party donation.”
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An online petition calling for his resignation has collected more than 12,000 signatures. A small protest was held outside Henley Town Hall on Saturday against Mr Silvester’s anti-gay views.
John Howell , the Conservative MP for Henley attended the protest and said: “It was very good of the Henley Standard to publish the letter because it shows the rest of Henley exactly what they are dealing with and why they should have nothing to do with him.
“The issue of gay marriage is over and is now legal. I’m not aware that UKIP are going to reverse the changes so I don’t know what he’s complaining about. The sooner he gets off the scene the better.
“There’s absolutely no place for that sort of attitude in today’s world. He really needs to consider his position.”
UKIP’s official position is that it supports same-sex civil partnerships but opposes same-sex marriages. The first same-sex marriages will be held in March.
Mr Silvester defected to UKIP from the Conservatives in 2012 in opposition to same-sex marriage.