Nigel Farage has defended Ann Widdecombe’s comments that science may one day be able to “produce an answer” to being gay.
The newly-elected Brexit Party MEP – who has previously voiced her support for gay conversion therapy – sparked controversy on Sunday when she told Sky that while “we think it is now quite impossible for people to switch sexuality”, scientists may one day be able to find a solution.
But in an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday, Brexit Party leader Farage refused to condemn Widdecombe’s views.
“In a free society tolerance needs to be a two-way street and I do think – I really do think – that devout Christians should be allowed to have their opinions,” he said.
“I will take no stand on this whatsoever… I believe in issues of conscience. I believe it very strongly,” Farage continued, later adding that he would neither support nor condemn people’s views on topics such as homosexuality or abortion.
Asked by host Piers Morgan whether gay people could be cured by science, the former Ukip leader said: “I very much doubt that human beings can be cured of anything. I think we are born the way we are and we tend to stay with our characteristics for the rest of our lives.”
When quizzed about whether the Brexit Party supported gay people, Farage said that Louis Stedman-Bryce – the party’s MEP for Scotland who is gay – could answer those questions.
The row follows a huge victory for the Brexit Party in the European elections. Taking 31.6% of votes, the party won 29 seats in European parliament.
Farage’s party is now bidding to elect its first MP, with candidate Mike Greene in the race to replace Fiona Onasanya in Peterborough after she was removed by recall petition.
Constituents in Peterborough will head to the polls on Thursday.