A Reply To Speculation Regarding Deputy Leader
Editors Note: Flo Lewis is the Chair of LGBTQ* In UKIP. You can find their website here.
Henry Bolton is appointing his leadership team. As is normal when decisions are made there has been speculation as to why certain decisions are made. I’d like to address some of this speculation.
Firstly, it is true that myself and a few colleagues did say that if David Kurten was appointed deputy then we would be unable, in full conscience, to remain members given some of his comments during the leadership campaign. This is no headline news. When you join a political party it is primarily due to some agreement with the policy and direction. Should the direction change and no longer represent personal beliefs then it is natural to leave.
During the leadership election, many people from various backgrounds and groups have made similar pledges, simply following their own conscience. This leads me to my next point. Some would have you believe that it is LGBT* in UKIP that are responsible for holding this appointment to ransom. This is untrue.
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When Mr Bolton won the leadership I was one of a number of people, both within LGBT* in UKIP and the wider party who were asked if I would add my name to a list of people unwilling to serve David Kurten if he became Deputy. Others on the list included some at senior level within the party.
Perhaps it is easier for some to attribute blame to us. This is one of the largest false statements that have been circulating.
Out of all that has been said and done, ‘traditional marriage’ has been mentioned the most, but not by LGBT* in UKIP. The only time that LGBT* in UKIP raised the subject of marriage was on August 19th 2017 when responding to John Rees-Evans comments reported by Pink News. The statement can be found here: https://lgbtinukip.com/2017/08/19/statement-john-rees-evans-pink-news-article/
The LGBT* in UKIP stance is simply the separation of Church and State. The State should not have the power to force the Church or stop the Church from performing Same Sex Marriages. At the same time, the Church should not attempt to stop the state from performing civil (none religious) same-sex marriages.
Now we move onto the crux of the matter. The objections raised by myself and many other people across UKIP is not to do with marriage per se, it is in fact due to a number of other events that up to now have been forgotten.
For example, Mr Kurten attempted to have the LGBT* section and references to LGBT issues removed from the 2017 General Election Manifesto. The reasons given were that extreme anti-lgbt opinions were a ‘moot point’ (extreme anti-western and anti-Semitic opinions are to be rightly challenged but extreme anti LGBT are a ‘moot point’) and that my personal quote should be removed as it is ‘problematic for freedom of speech’. This is a rather paradoxical statement, remove my quote in the name of freedom of speech?!?!?
Second, during the General election (2017) David K released a policy announcement regarding the restriction of any and all LGBT* content from schools before the age of 16. This was labeled and distributed as official party policy when in fact it was not. This is, I understand, in violation of party rule book.
W.2.2 It is the responsibility of all Party officials to be as clear as possible, when commenting on any issue, as to whether they are giving a personal opinion or a Party position.
W.2.3 Party officials should be aware that, by virtue of their position, there is the possibility that certain statements made by them in a personal capacity might be misrepresented and associated with the Party. It is the responsibility of Party officials to ensure that their conduct is such as not to cause embarrassment to the Party or to bring the Party into disrepute.
W.5 Elected members should not make public statements which contradict Party policy…
Third, we have the interview with ‘Support for the Family’ where, when asked if sexual orientation was fixed at birth, David K replied that studies show that ‘incidence of homosexuality is much higher among people who have been abused as children’. The full answer was consequently changed after the statement was published by the media. As an education spokesman, one would assume that he is aware of the bias involved in studies, that conclusions are not automatically credible and that with access to publications database you are pretty much able to find a study to support any agenda. In fact having read the accessible studies that were referenced, there are multiple limitations including sample size, cultural differences, historical bias, I could go on! More to the point, out of all of the potential answers why choose to the negative reference to child abuse, when as an educated man, surely he would know this would result in the party being subject to negative headlines and places into disrepute?
Moving onto the statement in ‘Kipper central’ By Alan Craig stating that LGBT* are no friend of Henry and that a ‘leader’ made certain tweets. I have searched for these tweets and have not been able to find trace so I would be interested to know who this ‘leader’ is. Habeas Corpus. Further, all of the committee members do state on their twitter profiles that all views are their own and therefore cannot be applied to the group as a whole.
Lastly lets address this ‘Pledge’. Apart from a Kipper Central article which states that the promise was made at the Birmingham leadership hustings (11th September), I cannot find anything that makes a definitive promise. Interesting that the next day (12th September) at the Leadership Hustings held at Leigh the question of deputy was put to the candidates. Here Henry does not specify his deputy but rather states that the important to get the right team, stating that its best not to ‘paint yourself in a corner and you find yourself in a political nightmare if you haven’t got it right.’ This can be viewed at: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2042088979344370&id=1632354626984476&hc_location=ufi Approximately 5 minutes in. This would indicate that no definitive promise was made therefore no word would be broken if Henry B does not appoint David K deputy.
Rather than adding to further speculation and untruths, let’s concentrate on facts.
UPDATE: We have found the tweet that Mr Alan Craig was incorrectly referring to as authored by a LGBT* ‘Leader’. The author was in fact a member of LGBT* who currently holds no appointed or elected position, nor did they at the time of the tweet so cannot correctly be referred to as a ‘leader’.