UKIP picks anti-LGBT candidate who claimed gays were ‘abused as children’ to run in Lewisham East
The UK Independence Party has picked a controversial politician with a history of anti-LGBT statements to run in the Lewisham East by-election.
The pro-Brexit party, which is struggling for survival in the wake of a wipe-out in this month’s local elections, today announced it had picked David Kurten to stand in the Labour stronghold in the June 14 election.
Kurten is a controversial choice for the seat vacated by LGBT ally Heidi Alexander, given his views on homosexuality.
In September 2017 PinkNews revealed that Kurten, who is also a member of the London Assembly, had made comments linking homosexuality to childhood sexual abuse.
Asked if he believes sexual orientation is “fixed at birth” in an online Q&A with UKIP website ‘Support 4 the Family’, Mr Kurten suggested that homosexuality is often the result of childhood sexual abuse.
He said: “The latest scientific studies show that incidence of homosexuality in adults decreases with age, so it is unlikely to be fixed at birth.
“Study after study also shows that the incidence of homosexuality is much higher among people who have been sexually abused as children. This is an issue which needs to be addressed but is not because of political correctness.”
Kurten later claimed the PinkNews report was “in my opinion a hatchet job designed to cast me in the worst light possible for the consumption of the liberal metropolitan elite.”
He said: “My personal opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman. This is the definition of marriage in the vast majority of countries, and my personal opinion is that the millennia old definition of marriage we had in Britain should not have been changed in 2013.
“This is an issue of conscience, but in the event that there were a free vote on it, I would vote to restore traditional marriage.”
At the time, UKIP’s former Deputy Chair Suzanne Evans described Mr Kurten as “not fit for elected office” – despite him being one of the party’s few remaining elected figures.
Ms Evans told PinkNews: “David Kurten’s comments are utterly disgraceful.
“Sadly I am not surprised by them: Kurten has on numerous occasions shown himself to be vehemently opposed to homosexuality, yet as a protege of Nigel Farage, thrust forward onto the London Assembly, his obvious flaws have so far been ignored.
“In my opinion he is not fit for elected office nor leadership of a political party.”
Speaking about his candidacy today, Kurten said: “A vote for UKIP will send a strong message that the people are fed up with virtue signalling and want policing and crime and support for families to be taken seriously.2
UKIP leader Gerard Batten said: “I am delighted that David has put himself forward to stand in Lewisham.
“He is a seasoned campaigner, very popular with the membership who has the ability to reach out far beyond the traditional confines of a purely Eurosceptic electorate.”
Most of the party’s few remaining LGBT supporters resigned in protest in March, after the new UKIP leader Gerard Batten appointed a Families and Children spokesperson who calls LGBT activists the ‘Gaystapo’ and claims gay parents damage children.
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Alan Craig was appointed to the top team despite a long history of extreme views on LGBT rights and criticism of gay parenting.
Craig is a strong opponent of children being taught about LGBT issues, claiming it is “tantamount to child abuse”. He has repeatedly referred to the LGBT lobby as the ‘Gaystapo’, and came under scrutiny during the 2015 election when it emerged he had ties to ‘gay cure’ practitioners.
Craig added: “Recently we have seen that drag queens are now being invited into nurseries to give transgender lessons to toddlers. And a government-funded LGBT organisation is avidly promoting colourful cartoon books for nurseries that provoke three year olds to question their gender.”
Alan Craig previously served as David Kurten’s campaign manager in UKIP’s 2017 leadership election.