The former Conservative Shadow Home Secretary and Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe has caused a stooshie after appearing on Sky News on 2 June. Whilst being challenged about her views on ‘gay conversion’ therapy live on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Widdecombe came out with “science may produce an answer at some stage” to homosexuality. Yes, you read that correctly.
An Elected Member from the winning party from the EU Elections in 2019 actually said that live on international TV. It’s moments like this I really worry about the increasingly right wing direction of UK-wide politics. Even the (caretaker) Prime Minister Theresa May, who sent ‘Go Home’ vans round areas of London with a high immigrant population, thinks the idea of ‘gay conversation’ therapy as “abhorrent”. I mean, that really says something.
Widdecombe even made some daft incoherent comparison to someone now being able to go through a process to change gender with science possibly being able to alter one’s sexuality in the future. Although, something tells me she might not be of the ilk that views gender as fluid and not a binary concept. Widdecombe is completely conflating two separate LGBTQI+ discussions.
The Brexit Party
The real life caricature of right wing conservatism and bigotry herself was recently elected in the South West region of England following the EU Elections last month. In fact, the Brexit Party topped the vote share across England and Wales with just one commitment, to bring about a no deal Brexit. Moreover, the party have not put forward a manifesto or details on how their sitting MEPs would be able to deliver no deal from inside the EU Parliament’s debating chamber.
Spoiler alert! MEPs are only in EU Parliament to vote on EU legislation and they will have no say on the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement. But most noteworthy, those negotiations are already complete and are not to be reopened according to the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. So that is a bit of a busted flush for the Brexit Party, they will achieve absolutely nothing in the EU Parliament.
The Brexit Party’s CEO (oh sorry, I mean Leader) Nigel Farage said his Party will “try and fundamentally change the shape of British politics”. Apparently, he wants it to looks rather right-wing populist shaped – judging by what his elected members have been saying. And let’s be honest, the comments about ‘gay cures’ and scapegoating immigrants is just the beginning. Farage famously stood in front of the ‘Breaking Point’ mobile billboard in an attempt to demonise immigrants during the EU referendum.
I’ve yet to hear the Brexit Party have any solutions to real issues facing UK – such as voters feeling disenfranchised from UK politics and scandalous levels of inequality – which likely motivated voters in England and Wales to vote in favour of Brexit in the first place. These are the issues that need answers, not homosexuality eradication.
Stigma and hatred
The Brexit Party should release a statement and take some action after Widdecombe’s appearance on Sky News. I say this because that vile statement could have been viewed by some young or vulnerable LGBTQI+ individuals who might be struggling to accept their sexuality. And here is the ironic thing, Widdecombe claimed that some LGBTQI+ people are ‘dissatisfied’ with their sexuality – that could be because of the stigma we face and hatred shown towards us by people like Ann Widdecombe. As a satisfied member of the LGBTQI+ community, I’d like to ask you to take your outdated harmful moralistic narrow-minded views back to the distant past where they belong. And let us all hope ‘science’ will provide the answers to bigoted and hateful views which have no place in our society.
By Brian Finlay