Brexit Party candidate defends Ann Widdecombe over claims science can cure being gay
The Brexit Party candidate for Bristol East has defended Ann Widdecombe’s comments that “science may yet produce” a cure for homosexuality.
Tim Page said that Widdecombe’s comments had been “taken out of context” and that she did “not mean what she said”.
Widdecombe, who was a conservative MP for 23 years and joined the Brexit Party in 2019, made the comments on Sky News on June 2 when pressed about a 2012 article she wrote lamenting that therapy to make people “become heterosexual” was denied to “unhappy homosexuals”.
Asked about her 2012 remarks, Widdecombe, 71, said, “I also pointed out there was a time when we thought it was quite impossible for men to become women and vice versa.
“And the fact we now think it’s quite impossible for people to switch sexuality doesn’t mean science may not yet produce an answer at some stage.”
She was widely criticised for the comments, with Tory MP Nick Boles accusing her of “poisonous bigotry”.
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London mayor Sadiq Khan accused her of “peddling homophobic nonsense”.
“She may have changed her party, but she hasn’t changed her stripes,” he added.
Page, who defended Widdecombe at a hustings at St Brendan’s college, told Bristol Live: “Yes, I said that Ann Widdecombe was quoted totally out of context and her views maliciously distorted.
“She has never talked in terms of ‘a cure for homosexuality’, but such is human ingenuity and advances in medical science that, maybe one day conceivably, anyone who wants to transition from man to woman or woman to man would be able to do so.”
In his defence of her, Page also referenced an interview Widdecombe did with broadcaster Iain Dale that “sets the record straight on her views on homosexuality”.
In the interview, Widdecombe said she is not bigoted against LGBT+ people because she has “lots of gay friends”.
A student at the college who attended the hustings said: “When Tim argued that Ann Widdecombe wasn’t wrong in her comments, the room suddenly became silent in shock. It angers me and it angered other students to hear such dangerous views being projected. His political rhetoric throughout the hustings showed a lack of engagement with real social issues.”