Nigel Farage , the leader of the UK Independence Party, is bringing further controversy to the Croydon North by-election, visiting the constituency this morning to support his candidate’s ailing campaign and specifically backing Winston McKenzie‘s remarks made in opposition to gay marriage.
McKenzie has already apologised for some anti-gay Tweets, in which he claimed “Winston gives it to you straight”. On Croydon Radio yesterday, McKenzie admitted that his straight line was “crass”.
But today, Farage is seeking to make the gay marriage issue part of UKIP’s election campaign in an apparent attempt to appeal to the many faith groups in the area, some of which oppose the notion of their being obliged to conduct wedding ceremonies for single-sex couples.
Farage said, “Winston McKenzie is the only candidate in this by-election that is opposed to the imposition of gay marriage.”
In fact, McKenzie joins Richard Edmonds, the National Front’s candidate in Croydon North, in opposing gay marriage.
Yet twice-married Farage, the former Conservative party member who is now an outspoken member of the European parliament, will find that he is making his visit just a day after McKenzie called for Christianity to hold primacy among religions in this country.
Surprisingly, bearing in mind the diversity of faiths represented in Croydon North, McKenzie told the Croydon Matters radio programme yesterday that, “At all times, we must remember that this country is a predominantly Christian country. We should not be coerced into believing that it is anything but that.
“Britain itself must not change its views and its attitudes and its culture from being anything other than a Christian country,” McKenzie said on Croydon Radio.
No other leading candidates have made religion or sexual orientation an election issue in the highly diverse Croydon North constituency, although it is well-known that Andy Stranack, the Conservative candidate, is active in a local church, and Steve Reed, the Labour candidate, is openly gay.
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