Sunday, 8 Dec 2019

Brexit Party blow: MEP Louis Stedman-Bryce quits over party’s ‘betrayal of LGBT community’

The openly-gay parliamentarian claimed the Brexit Party had selected a candidate in Scotland who has “posted homophobic views across social media”. Mr Stedman-Byrce said he was “saddened” at quitting but his “personal values are now in direct conflict with those of the party”. He added: “This for me is an area where I cannot and will not compromise.”

In a social media video, the Scottish MEP also accused Nigel Farage’s party of breaking promises to stand up for Brexit north of the border.

“Almost a quarter of a million people in Scotland voted for the Brexit Party to represent them here in the European Parliament and to ensure that Scotland had a voice in the Brexit debate,” Mr Stedman-Bryce said.

“But unfortunately, I felt that the party has repeatedly failed to deliver on either of those promises.

“The Brexit Party’s recent decision to select a Scottish candidate who has openly posted homophobic views across social media is not only a betrayal of the LGBT community but also a betrayal of everyone who believes that such divisive and hateful views have no place in our society.”

His resignation follows Brexit Party officials withdrawing their support for Victor Farrell, their candidate in Glenrothes.

Mr Farrell had posted on social media that he was “at war” with gay and lesbian people, and made disparaging comments about Muslims.

A Brexit Party spokesman said: “We cut ties with Victor Farrell almost as soon as his comments came to light.

“We are said to see Louis Stedman-Bryce go and we will always oppose bigotry and fight for a proper Brexit.”

Mr Stedman-Bryce has announced he will continue to sit as an independent member of the European Parliament.

Ex-Brexit Party MEP Andrew England Kerr, who was sacked from the party over alleged conflict of interest claims, praised his former colleague’s decision.

He said: “Louis is passionate in his beliefs, which is good to see in a person, and has the courage of his convictions.

“The Party has lost a good person and probably the smartest-dressed MEP in the Parliament. Welcome Louis to the independents.”

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Last week Mr Stedman-Bryce stood down as candidate for Glasgow North East in the general election in protest at the Brexit Party’s decision not to contest Conservative-held seats.

In a statement, he said: “I joined the Brexit Party to change politics for good and uphold democracy, and I do not trust Boris Johnson to deliver the type of Brexit I voted for.

“I believe that the deal he has proposed would be devastating to our country and our future prosperity.

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“So it is with a heavy heart that I have taken the decision not to run in the upcoming general election.

“Whilst I supported a localised agreement with the Tories in Scotland to help prevent the onslaught of the SNP, I cannot support standing down PPC’s across all Tory seats.”

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