Conservative MP quits hours after telling school kids being gay is ‘dangerous to society’
A Tory MP who reportedly told school kids it is “wrong” to be gay has resigned suddenly.
Conservative Party insiders have told PinkNews that Andrew Turner MP “resigned before he was pushed” following the row. They added: “There’s no place in the party for such views.”
The row was sparked when a 16-year-old politics student posted on Facebook alleging that Mr Turner had made homophobic comments while visiting her school.
After complaints about his conduct, the MP of 16 years opted to resign as the MP for the Isle of Wight.
In a statement, Andrew Turner wrote: “It has been my privilege to serve the people of the Isle of Wight as their Member of Parliament.
“I have been incredibly fortunate to represent such a beautiful constituency.
“After 16 years I have come to the decision that it time for a new generation to take up the mantle of representing my fantastic constituents.
“I am grateful for the support I have received from islanders and proud of the record that Conservatives have in delivering for the island.
“In the forthcoming election I will be supporting the Conservative candidate to ensure the strong and stable leadership of Theresa May is returned to Downing Street.”
Mr Turner, 63, is alleged to have told A Level students that homosexuality is “dangerous to society” during a discussion about Isle of Wight Pride, as first reported by local website On the Wight.
A-Level politics student Esther Poucher, 16, wrote on Facebook: “He told us that he’d been invited, but wasn’t intending to go.
“This is because (and this is a direct quote) he thinks that homosexuality is ‘wrong’ and ‘dangerous to society’.
“At this answer, I had to leave,” she wrote.
PinkNews has also spoken to another student in the class, Toby Sheard, who said he was left scared after the MP’s alleged comments.
According to the student, the visit by the MP was arranged as part of an effort to “get the youth vote”.
The 17-year-old told PinkNews: “Once the meeting was over it hit me what he had said, I was a danger, it was wrong to treat me as normal.
“This form of attitude shouldn’t be allowed in our society, especially in our government.
“Later in the meeting, I tried to push him for why he held this belief, he dodged the question three times until admitting it was for a religious reason.
“The fact that we have MPs with these views in our governing party scares me that we could easily see ourselves going back into the past.”
Mr Turner has voted strongly against LGBT rights during his time in Parliament.
The MP had coincidentally been in the middle of a reselection process as the row broke, ahead of June’s general election.
His candidate selection meeting had been scheduled for this afternoon (Friday 28), but was hastily cancelled when the comments came to light.
A message to local Conservative Party members announced the cancellation of the meeting, which had been set to take place at 4 PM.
The message, obtained by The Times, says the meeting has been “postponed” until after local elections on May 4 to avoid “confusion”.
The delay will now presumably give the local party time to find a replacement candidate.
Mr Turner previously faced deselection threats in 2015, over his own tumultuous personal life.
Local Conservative Association members had been incensed at a ‘love triangle’ which saw his wife divorce and begin dating his political adviser.
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Organisers of the Isle of Wight Pride event say they are “deeply shocked and saddened” by the outgoing MP’s comments.
In the original Facebook post, which has been shared more than 100 times, Ms Poucher said: “It’s terrifying that in this age and point in our development as a society, there are still people that can’t care enough about a person’s wellbeing to just accept who they are.”
The 16-year-old continues: “Yes, we all believe different things, and that’s wonderful.
“But when that belief treats a group as sub-human, and attempts to take away their fundamental rights, we can’t respect it.
“I’m done with people not standing up and fucking shouting about what’s right and not campaigning for justice.
“To those over 18 – please do the right thing, and vote in a government that works for a society of diversity and acceptance. Don’t be complacent.”