Kurten Campaign In Chaos After Pink News Article
Leading UKIP leadership candidate David Kurten (pictured above) has seen his campaign hit the buffers over the past 24 hours, following a report that appeared in Pink News accusing the London AM of holding homophobic views. The allegations relate to a questionnaire that Mr. Kurten completed for the campaign group Support 4 The Family, which was also completed by other candidates in the contest.
Mr. Kurten, who is also the party’s Education Spokesman, has been accused of describing gay orientation as being the result of ‘childhood sexual abuse’, although in a statement issued by his spokesperson today (Thursday) Mr. Kurten says that he was badly misrepresented in the article.
Nevertheless his comments have produced an angry response from certain sections of the party, with his leadership rival and fellow London AM Peter Whittle saying:
‘This is so wrong on every level. Neither I, nor any of the gay friends and colleagues I have known over 35 years, were sexually abused.’
Former leadership contender Suzanne Evans also waded into the row, saying:-
‘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.’
The leaders of LGBT in UKIP also issued a statement after the comments became public. In it they say:
‘Today, LGBT* in UKIP have been made aware of the disgraceful, offensive, homophobic and transphobic comments published by PinkNews quoting David Kurten.
‘We call for those who are vetting the leadership candidates to be made aware of these remarks and that they are taken into consideration whilst the panel determine the candidates application.
‘Further to this, we call for immediate suspension pending full investigation with purpose to review such comments as a representative of the party, not only as an Education spokesperson but also a London Assembly member.’
Responding to the allegations today Mr. Kurten said:
‘On June 9th an article appeared in a blog publication called Pink News which was in my opinion a ‘hatchet job’ intended to show me in the worst light possible for the consumption of the metropolitan liberal elite. It is unsurprising that this has caused a backlash among the politically correct media class, but the response from some quarters of UKIP has been astonishing.
‘Without contacting me at all, some people, including another leadership candidate and another person who previously attempted to have me deselected as a candidate for the London Assembly, have either attacked me publicly or signed an open letter calling for my exclusion from the contest, simply for expressing some traditional views and mentioning the results of some (scientific) studies.
The most contentious part of the blog headline is the implication that I believe that homosexuality is caused by child abuse. This is not what I said, and is not what I believe. I did not suggest at all that all homosexual people have been abused’.
The full statement is available on Mr. Kurten’s twitter feed. He concluded by saying:
‘I hope that I will be allowed to stand in the leadership contest so that members have a choice of whether we are truly to be a party which stands for freedom of choice or not’.
UKIP Chair Paul Oakden announced in an internal e-mail today that the full listed of approved vetted candidates will be released by the party tomorrow (Friday). The result of the contest will be announced at the Party’s annual conference in Torquay at the end of September.
Westmonster Dave is the editor of alt-politics.com