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UKIP politician dubs party a ‘vehicle of hate’ towards LGBT community and Muslims

MEP Bill Etheridge resigned from the party after new leader Gerard Batten called for more extreme stances

By Steve Brown

A UKIP politician has branded his own party as a “vehicle of hate” towards the LGBT community and Muslims.

Bill Etheridge – a UKIP MEP – resigned from the party after its new leader Gerard Batten led a drive to have more extreme stances and allow members with links to white supremacists join the party.

In a new manifesto released last month, the party pledged to gut LGBT+ rights laws and ban inclusive sex education in primary schools.

Now just days after MEP William Dartmouth also resigned, Etheridge handed in his resignation letter and said: “The changes you have made since becoming leader have changed the party beyond all recognition.

“You have allowed your personal obsessions free reign. The party is now seen by large swathes of the British public as a vehicle for hate towards Muslims and the gay community.

“While there is a place for extreme nationalist and reactionary views in politics and I defend the right of you and others to hold and express your opinions, I do not believe these were the opinions and policies that UKIP MEPs were elected to represent.”

Etheridge has been a rare supporter of the LGBT community within the party and called for the party to embrace rights reforms and stop homophobic candidates.

Dartmouth – who resigned last month – also claimed the party was now “widely perceived as both homophobic and anti-Islamic.”