Nigel Farage pulls out of answering questions from PinkNews readers
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has pulled out of answering PinkNews readers’ questions, despite agreeing to take part in a Q&A ahead of tomorrow’s general election.
Mr Farage, who is standing for South Thanet in the election, had previously agreed to answer question from PinkNews readers, and the editorial team carefully selected the questions to be sent to the UKIP leader.
The questions included a range of LGBT and non-LGBT issues, including gay blood bans, health tourism and the treatment of UKIP by the media, including PinkNews.
After speaking to a senior source close to Mr Farage, PinkNews understands that draft versions of policy responses to the questions were sent to him multiple times, and he continually refused to sign off on them.
According to the source, today, Mr Farage finally refused to answer the questions.
PinkNews founder and CEO Benjamin Cohen said: “It is disappointing that Nigel Farage, having agreed to answer the questions of PinkNews readers has now at the last minute pulled out. As someone seeking to secure a national mandate, he does himself no favours to turn down the opportunity to address a significant proportion of the electorate. Unless of course, Nigel Farage doesn’t care about LGBT voters? Surely not.”
As leader of the UK Independence Party, Mr Farage was the only leader of a main UK party to oppose the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act – but he has since confirmed his party will not be repealing the legislation.
In a previous PinkNews Q&A, Mr Farage appeared to U-turn twice on same-sex marriage, as he denied that answers attributed to him by an official UKIP spokesman were his words. In the response, Mr Farage said he would seek the augmentation of civil marriage and civil partnerships, with religious ceremonies as optional.
The full list of questions sent to Mr Farage are available to read below
Felix Smith- UKIP and PinkNews: I sometimes get the impression that whatever you say and whatever UKIP candidates do, PinkNews staff and its readers always portray your actions negatively. Do you think that PinkNews is unfair in its treatment of UKIP or do you accept the way it covers the party?
Toby Dennis – HIV: Do you not see sense in the argument that one person treated for HIV (regardless of country of origin) is potentially many more infections prevented and thus more money saved for the NHS? HIV doesn’t care about nationality and one untreated person will be highly infectious and cost the NHS many times more in the long run!
Charlie Bazzant – Gay adoption: Should same-sex couples be allowed to use surrogates or foster and adopt children?
Alastair Mavor – Gay families: Nigel, if your son told you he was gay or wanted to change his gender to become a woman, how would you react? If he then told you he was in love and wanted to marry another man, or if he was transgender what would your response be?
Wayne Clegg – HIV and pornography: Last year it became unlawful to make certain types of extreme porn in the UK. However, it remains entirely legal to feature ‘bareback sex’ on UK pornography, gay or straight. Why is this and would you change the law to outlaw the production of ‘bareback porn’ as has happened in other countries and territories in order to reduce HIV transmissions and save the NHS money?
Clive Shutler – Gays in the Commonwealth: Should the UK government put more pressure on the fellow countries in the Commonwealth,who criminalise homosexuality to legalise it and provide protection for LGBT citizens?
Dave M – Religious beliefs: Do you think people with deeply held religious beliefs should be entitled to discriminate against same-sex couples, for the provisions of goods and services, for example a bakery which refuses to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding?
Andrew Holmes – Equality Act: Would you repeal the Equality Act 2010, which protects employees against discrimination on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, and age within the workplace?
Lord (Guy) Black of Brentwood – Reparative therapy: It’s concerning that in 2015 there’s still a belief, held by some, that gay people can be “cured”. Do you think it’s now time to bring forward legislation to ban “reparative therapy” for gay people, and if there was a bill laid before the House, would you support it?
Saskya Monchar – Government Office for Equalities: The UKIP manifesto commits to abolishing a number of government departments but doesn’t name them. Would you commit on PinkNews not to abolish the Government Office for Equality (GOE)?
John Mundy – Overseas aid: Is it right for the UK to give overseas aid to homophobic countries? Is it right for the UK to trade with homophobic countries? Would we do either with racist countries?
Becky Morgan – Middle East: The UK currently has very strong relationships with countries like Brunei and Saudi Arabia, both of which have disgusting records when it comes to gay rights- they are two of the richest countries still with the death penalty for gay sex. Would you threaten to abandon arm sales to these countries unless they change their laws, as Natalie Bennett advocates or is the money that the UK makes from this too important to the economic recovery to risk this?
Paul Hayes – SRE: Mr Farage I’m a 25 year old teacher who struggled with my sexual identity for a long time and it made me very low growing up. I am gay and happily in a relationship. I want to know why do you not support equal sex education in schools when so many confused children would understand that they are normal and stop so many problems with mental health amongst the LGBT community?
Richard Smith-Gore: As a gay man with two children, what is your view on encouraging ALL schools to talk about gay relationships when discussing family and relationship topics. Let me make it clear I am not talking about sex education, but healthy relationship education and when I say All schools I include faith schools. I was brought up as a catholic and it was never mentioned in my school, nobody ever said it was OK to be who you are and I feel that is incredibly damaging to children who will identify as gay.
Sir Richard Branson – SRE: Will Mr Farage agree with me that the best way to tackle this is through early lessons in schools on Sex and Relationship Education?
Bishop of Buckingham – CofE quadruple lock: The legislation around equal marriage contained important protections for the consciences of clergy opposed to marrying gay people.
However, it contained no protection for the consciences of clergy who want to perform same-sex weddings – or indeed gay clergy who want to marry themselves.
These clergy have routinely been subject to harassment and victimisation – and this even led in one instance to an Archbishop blocking someone from a promotion within the NHS.
Many other licensed clergy are now in fear of their position in public service jobs in which they had felt safe. What plans do our politicians have to remedy this manifest injustice?
Bill Drayton: Do you believe it is right for priests in both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church under the present legislation not to be able to conduct religious same sex marriages, especially since some of them are gay themselves and more have no objection on doctrinal or moral grounds to perform such ceremonies for LGBT couples?
Brandon Paul – HIV and health tourism: Don’t you understand that by singling out HIV treatment when you talk about health tourism, you are stigmatising HIV and the gay community and you sound homophobic. The point about health tourism and the abuse of of our national health service is then lost.
Daniel Ridsdale – LGBT asylum seekers: If elected what would you do to support LGBT asylum seekers who if returned to their own country would certainly face execution?
Ryan Cook – Transgender toilets: What are your views on transgender people using the toilet which corresponds to their gender identity, rather than the gender they were assigned at birth?
June from Bedford- UKIP candidates: UKIP’s David Silvester blamed floods for same-sex marriage, received negative media attention, and was rightly expelled from UKIP.
UKIP’s Ted Strike made near-identical comments questioning if the storms were ‘God’s reply’ to equal marriage – receiving far less media attention – and is still running for Parliament for UKIP in Stockton South.
Why have these two people been treated so differently for near-identical comments? A cynic would say UKIP is adverse to negative media coverage, not homophobia.