Ukip has been forced to defend the fact that controversial ex-Christian Peoples Alliance leader Alan Craig, who once dubbed gay rights activists the "Gaystapo" in a reference to Nazi Germany's secret police, is joining their party.
Craig, who has described same-sex marriage as "social vandalism" and tantamount to "child abuse", revealed in a recent blog post that he had been campaigning in Clacton for Tory defector Douglas Carswell in his bid to become Ukip's first elected MP, and had himself applied to join the party.
The ex-Newham councillor told the Huffington Post UK that he was joining Ukip because he wanted Britain to leave the European Union and to break up the "Lib/Lab/Con cartel and the suffocating grasp of the metropolitan political class". He said he also admired "Ukip's courage in standing against the gay marriage tsunami that [David] Cameron et al. hit us with last year".
In controversial comments published in the Church of England Newspaper in 2011, Craig compared gay marriage to the "invasion of Poland", warning that it could be a "catalyst for war and a cultural fight-back".
The “Gaystapo”, he said, “want to change our language, manipulate our culture and thereby impose their world-view on us all. Cultural domination is their aim and fascist-type intolerance of politically-incorrect dissent is their weapon.”
A Ukip spokesman admitted that Craig had used more "ripened" language about same-sex marriage, telling the Huffington Post UK: "We're not prejudiced against traditional, old-school Christians just as we're not against homosexual people. I'm very wary of joining in a witch-hunt against somebody who holds those views, that the vast majority of the world would also hold."
The spokesperson expressed sympathy for the ex-Newhan councillor's call to "rise up" against the "cultural domination of the 'Gaystapo'" in a swipe at "the more excitable parts of the gay lobby".
"It's not about tolerance, it's not about tolerating other people's points of view. It's actually about dominating, control and refusing to allow anybody else to have a point of view," he said.
The news that Craig, who stood as a London mayoral candidate in 2008, was joining Ukip sparked fury on Twitter.
Craig told HuffPostUK that he did know if he was officially a Ukip member yet, as he had applied less than a fortnight ago. He was nominated "Bigot of the Year" by the gay rights group Stonewall over his controversial attack on the "Gaystapo".
In response, Craig said: “By attempting to bully, intimidate, humiliate and generate hatred of individuals through the award, Stonewall fully justifies the Gaystapo tag which I gave the organisation and for which apparently I have been nominated."
The former councillor recently wrote: "Whatever you think of the issue itself, the gay marriage legislation last year was a democratic disgrace. Faithful one man/one woman marriage has been a defining and enduring bedrock of our society and culture – and the preeminent place of nurture for the nation’s children – for a millennium and a half.”
“Yet without warning, electoral mandate, Green or White Paper consultation or intelligent debate, and egged on by media, the PR industry, Hollywood celebs and the all-powerful gay lobby on both sides of the Atlantic (the UK perennially follows where the US leads), our political leaders like lemmings rushed off the marriage cliff and into the gay sea while emoting loudly and stupidly that it is ‘all about love’.
“Overnight, unitedly and unnecessarily they redefined, enfeebled and wrecked a hugely beneficial social institution.”
Craig's former party, the Christian Peoples Alliance, has garnered its own share of controversy. Current leader Sid Cordle drew laughter from fellow studio guests when he told the BBC that it was pretty likely that gay marriage caused flooding in England.
"I think all Christians believe that God does, and can do, things with nature," he told the Daily Politics. "A lot of Christians believe God is angry over gay marriage and God can show that anger."
Cordle previously told the Huffington Post UK that Christians needed to "take to the streets" to protest against same sex marriage.