Ukip’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group chair has resigned over concerns that the party’s leadership has failed to “set a gay-friendly tone”.
Announcing his resignation on Twitter, Tom Booker said that his departure was because he “simply couldn’t defend the party any more”. “It’s a long way from Classical Liberal these days”, he added.
In a later statement to Pink News, Booker said:
I stepped down from my position as founder-chairman of LGBT* in Ukip, and resigned my membership of Ukip, due to disillusionment of policy direction and dissatisfaction at the failure of the leadership to set a gay-friendly tone.
I also now wish to focus more time on my career development and personal life.
I am proud of my contribution to Ukip. The new LGBT* in Ukip committee is excellent, and I hope that the enthusiasm and dedication of the committee will take the group to new heights.
I would like to wish them all the best.
Booker, who runs a hydrotherapy pool in Peterborough, will be replaced by Flo Lewis, while the party’s parliamentary candidate for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, Nathan Garbutt, will continue as the group’s vice-chair.
Booker’s resignation comes just before the start of the party’s spring conference in Margate on Friday.
On Thursday Nigel Farage told Fox News that mosques in Britain have been infiltrated by criminal hate preachers, and warned that religious minorities need to understand the law of the land.
Ukip’s LGBT group – which opposes same-sex marriage on the grounds of religious freedom – spoke out against comments made by the party’s councillor for Henley-upon-Thames, David Silvester, who argued that heavy flooding in January 2014 was because of the government’s plans to legalise gay marriage. The group wrote a letter to Silvester describing his comments as “an unacceptable act for which you cannot be excused”.
“I write with perverse intrigue as to why you have chosen to blame the bad weather on gay marriage, using the Bible as the point of reference for your theory,” the letter read.
On his public Facebook page, Booker describes his politics as “classical liberalism”, writing that he is dedicated to “small central governance, more localised power (yay, power to the people!), the pursuit of civil rights, humanism, laissez-faire capitalism and a sensible, more sustainable world”.
This article was written by Frances Perraudin, for theguardian.com on Thursday 26th February 2015 18.02 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010