A member of UKIP who was hopeful to become a candidate for the party in the London Assembly elections has quit.
Richard Hendron, who had hoped to stand for the party in the South West constitutency for the London Assembly elections, quit the party over a “vile, nasty, homophobic” candidate.
Yesterday PinkNews reported that, following a hustings on Friday, UKIP had selected Alan Craig as its candidate for the seat.
Mr Craig, who was selected at a hustings on Friday evening, previously compared gay equality advocates to the invading forces of Nazi Germany.
He was nominated for Stonewall’s ‘Bigot of the Year’ award in 2012.
His competition, Richard Hendron, has now resigned from the party over Mr Craig’s candidacy.
In a letter addressed to the UKIP party chair, he wrote: “It has become clear to me that UKIP is anything but a libertarian party. It is a party dominated and controlled by white middle-aged heterosexual men who do not believe in libertarian values, equality or valuing difference. It’s a party that’s becoming even more small minded, a party that goes out of its way to maintain the status quo, a party that at best tolerates Gays rather than accepts them, a party that attacks difference and undermines equality.”
Going on, Mr Hendron said he was “lost for words” when he realised UKIP had put up Alan Craig against him for the candidacy.
Noting Mr Craig’s history on LGBT issue, Mr Hendron writes: “There is no other way to describe Alan Craig other than a vile, nasty homophobic individual who is driven by hatred of the LGBT community. A quick Google search shows just how nasty he is.”
He goes on to say that it is “astounding” that UKIP would put forward Mr Craig against a gay man and LGBT activist.
The letter concludes: “I have tried my hardest to fight for the party and LGBT issues but I have been met with a barrage of resistance at all levels. UKIP is not really interested in equality, the LGBT group do nothing other than tick a box for the party, they do not push for change in the party or support LGBT activists who are trying to make a change, they even refused my application to join the LGBT group stating that being gay and in UKIP does not automatically qualify you for membership of LGBT in UKIP.
“The LGBT group should be lobbying hard for change and stopping the likes of Alan Craig becoming a candidate. I have to agree with Tom Booker when he resigned as chairman of LGBT in UKIP, saying ‘UKIP is a cult that is too willing to entertain bigots’, and that LGBT in UKIP is nothing more than public relations stunt to shield the party against allegations of homophobia.”
The Former Christian Peoples Alliance leader, Craig defected to UKIP last year and was inserted as a candidate for Brent North over an existing local candidate.
However, just days after his selection last April, PinkNews revealed that Mr Craig was set to speak at a ‘gay cure’ conference.
Though conference organisers dropped Mr Craig after the PinkNews coverage, UKIP refused to discipline him, claiming that “as a party that believes in freedom of speech he has the right to speak”.
It was rumoured that he would stand for UKIP as the mayoral candidate, however the party selected out gay candidate Peter Whittle to run instead.
The barrister and former police officer, stood for Parliament in Brentford and Isleworth last May – and is not afraid to criticise his own party.
In 2015, he warned that the party is perceived as “overflowing with homophobes, racist and bigots” – adding that Nigel Farage’s remarks about HIV during the election were “indefensible” and “did no one any favours”.
The party was later accused of attempting to block Mr Hendron from becoming the mayoral candidate because of the comments.