Strand Chambers’ Richard Hendron claims political party is “becoming even more small-minded”
A barrister and UK Independence Party (UKIP) gay rights campaigner has quit after a “vile homophobe” was put forward for election.
Taking to his personal Facebook page, Strand Chambers’ Richard Hendron (pictured top left) posted an explosive open letter to the UKIP party’s chairman Steve Crowther.
The 34-year-old barrister slammed the party’s decision to select outspoken former Christian People’s Alliance leader Alan Craig (top right), to stand at the Greater London Assembly in May later this year.
Describing UKIP’s choice as the “ton of bricks that broke the camel’s back”, the former policeman turned criminal barrister claims Craig is as a “vile, nasty homophobic individual”.
Hendron — who is described as a “fearless and unconventional advocate” in his chambers’ profile — compared trumpeting LGBT rights in Nigel Farage’s UKIP party to raising your head “above the parapet”.
Referring to the selection of Craig as “offensive”, Hendron continues:
A quick Google search shows just how nasty he [Craig] is. He has compared gay adoption to child abuse, he gives talks on “curing” gays, and he says gay marriage is social vandalism and as bad as the Nazi invasion of Poland.
The astonishing letter, ‘liked’ more than 100 times since being published on Sunday, continues:
He [Craig] has won Stonewall’s “Bigot of the Year Award”. Despite all this and more, I was horrified to learn he was an approved UKIP candidate, let alone being pitched against a UKIP activist.
Going on to suggest that the party has “actively tried to prevent” him from becoming a candidate, having lost five of his applications, Hendron claims he was met with “resistance at all levels” when it came to championing LGBT rights.
Speaking to The Mirror yesterday, he said:
One UKIP member emailed me saying ‘why don’t you go back into your closet you dirty homosexual’. There’s a difference between emailing someone something that’s grossly offensive and freedom of speech.
Having unsuccessfully put himself forward as UKIP’s mayoral candidate late last year, Hendron — who has been a member of the party for over three years — concluded in his letter that the LGBT group at UKIP was nothing more than a “public relations stunt”.
Flo Lewis, chair of UKIP’s LGBT group — no doubt keen to avoid yet another public relations disaster — went on the defensive, saying:
I’m disappointed that Richard has chosen to resign from UKIP and walk away, rather than work with us to develop our group and LGBT strategy going forwards and in a productive and open manner. His letter wasn’t fair for a number of reasons, nor did it accurately represent the reasons why he wasn’t selected as a candidate.