Councilor David Silvester, a member of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), who made headlines in January 2014 when he claimed that Britain’s recent floods were because the country legalized marriage equality, has been kicked out of the party for his statements.
Originally a member of the Conservative party, Silvester joined UKIP—considered by some to be the United Kingdom equivalent of the Tea Party—at the start of 2013, as a sign of protest against the equal marriage bill. On January 17, Silvester wrote an open letter to the Henley Standard in which he said, “The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.”
He then went on to say that he had attempted to warn Cameron in 2012 that the same-sex marriage bill would lead to disasters “but he went ahead despite a 600,000-signature petition by concerned Christians and more than half of his own parliamentary party saying that he should not do so.”
He also claimed that Cameron had “arrogantly acted against the Gospel that once made Britain ‘great.’”
In response to the letter, a petition on Change.org was created with the goal of “calling on David Silverster to resign as councillor and urging UKIP to force his resignation”; by February 4, it had collected over 24,000 signatures.
Though the head of the UKIP, Nigel Farage, stated that he had suspended Silvester from the party on January 20, Silvester told the Henley Standard that he had not been informed of the suspension personally, stating that “until I am I shall regard myself as a fully paid-up member of the party, to whom I recently made a £170 party donation.” Despite widespread criticism, he refused to issue an apology or resign as town councilor; in a radio interview with BBC Radio Oxford, he claimed, “God wants homosexuals to repent and be healed. I don’t believe it’s right to leave them as they are.”
According to the BBC, UKIP said in a statement, “Because he was an elected official representing UKIP, we take the view that his expression of views was unacceptable and in order to distance UKIP from those views permanently and irrevocably, we have no choice but to expel Mr Silvester.” The party had said previously that it did not share Silvester’s views, but that he had the right to state his own opinion.
Farage is working on removing officials with “extremist, nasty or barmy” views from the UKIP party before the next round of elections are held in May; according to the Huffington Post UK, he said in January 2014, “Some have been pushed and some have jumped.”