A Ukip leadership candidate has conceded it was a probably a “mistake” to claim a “homosexual donkey” tried to rape his horse.
John Rees-Evans was quizzed about the 2014 incident as he announced his bid to succeed Nigel Farage on BBC’s Daily Politics programme today.
“It was a bit of playful banter with a mischievous activist,” he said. “I’m sorry if I offended anyone in doing that.”
“I concede it was a mistake to be playful with an activist in a street. The fact is I’m not a politician. The guy was just asking me questions in the street. It was an error of judgment.”
Rees-Evans was Ukip’s candidate for the Cardiff South and Penarth parliamentary seat at the 2015 general election. During the campaign he was filmed being asked whether it was right that “some homosexuals prefer sex with animals”.
“Actually, I’ve witnessed that,” Rees-Evans said. “I’ve got a horse and it was there in the field. And a donkey came up, which was male, and I’m afraid tried to rape my horse.”
Rees-Evans said he had to protect his horse from the “homosexual donkey”.
Stephen Doughty, the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth who beat Rees-Evans, told The Huffington Post: “There’s nothing that’s playful or banter about homophobia - not least when you are standing against three openly gay candidates.
“In addition to his infamous and bizarre public comments about the donkey during the last election - he also sent letters to constituents claiming I was part of an ‘attack on family values’ for supporting equal marriage.”
Asked about the incident by Daily Politics presenter Jo Coburn, Rees-Evans said: “I am trying to tell you my serious vision for Ukip and you keep triviliasing it.”
The Ukip leadership race is now a crowded field. Yesterday former deupty leader Paul Nuttall announced he would run, as did former deputy chairman Suzanne Evans. Farage’s former chief of staff Raheem Kassam is also standing.