UK & World News
UKIP Suspends Gay Marriage Row Politician
UKIP has suspended a councillor who claimed that recent flooding was Britain's punishment for legalising gay marriage.
David Silvester, a councillor for Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, told his local paper that "storms, disease, pestilence and war" were the consequences for "a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel".
He added: "I wrote to David Cameron in April 2012 to warn him that disasters would accompany the passage of his same-sex marriage Bill."
His suspension swiftly follows UKIP leader Nigel Farage's promise to rid the party of its more extreme candidates.
UKIP says Mr Silvester's views in no way reflect the opinions of the party but defended the right to have a personal "religious ideology".
Announcing the crackdown, Mr Farage told The Sun: "Politics needs people with personality and backgrounds and they will all have one or two flaws. I have got my own red lines on this. That is real extremism and nastiness.
"We introduced a set of criteria by which we judged the exiting MEPs on how they've performed and what they have done."
Mr Farage has ordered the clear-out in an attempt pull off one of the biggest upsets in modern political history - winning the most UK seats in the European Parliament.
A recent ComRes poll for the Sunday Mirror and Independent on Sunday suggests voters now view UKIP more favourably than their political rivals.
Mr Farage has already cut loose five MEPs from his line-up for the European and town hall elections, and the party is vetting all 1,818 candidates to make sure they do not have "extremist, barmy or nasty" views.
UKIP suffered another embarrassment last year when MEP Godfrey Bloom branded African countries "Bongo Bongo Land".
Mr Silvester was not backing down from his views on Sunday, insisting his comments were serious.
Challenged by a BBC presenter, he said: "God wants all gay men to repent and be healed. I don't believe it's right to leave them as they are. That's not God's purpose."
When asked about his views on issues such as abortion, Mr Silvester said: "More children have been murdered by abortion than jews died in the concentration camps."
UKIP has no MPs in the UK parliament but Mr Farage believes a strong result in the European elections could change that and provide a springboard for more success at home.
The UKIP leader said he plans to stand in the 2015 general election and is considering which seat to target.
:: Watch the latest updates live on Sky News on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.