Oxford

Henley-on-Thames councillor David Silvester expelled from UKIP

  • 4 February 2014
  • From the section Oxford
Councillor David Silvester
Image caption Councillor David Silvester was suspended from UKIP on 19 January

A UKIP councillor who blamed recent storms and flooding on the legalisation of gay marriage has been expelled from the party.

Town councillor David Silvester, from Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, was suspended by the party on 19 January.

UKIP said Mr Silvester making the comments in a letter to the Henley Standard newspaper was unacceptable.

Henley Town Council held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the fallout around his comments.

Mr Silvester attended the meeting on Tuesday evening, where he apologised, but explained he would not be retracting his comments.

The BBC's Victoria Cook tweeted dozens of people had packed the town hall with "angry protesters clashing with supporters who recited the Old Testament".

Earlier, UKIP issued a statement which said it had "no choice" but to expel Mr Silvester.

"Because he was an elected official representing UKIP, we take the view that his expression of views was unacceptable and in order to distance UKIP from those views permanently and irrevocably, we have no choice but to expel Mr Silvester," the statement added.

'Disease, pestilence and war'

An online petition demanding Mr Silvester's resignation had attracted more than 24,000 signatures.

Henley town council said it was powerless to force him to step down as a councillor, despite a number of complaints.

The online petition also asked UKIP to suspend him permanently.

Last month, Mr Silvester's house was targeted by protesters, who threw eggs at the property and attached a "rainbow banner" to the wall.

In the letter to the Henley Standard he wrote: "The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war."

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.

"But he went ahead despite a 600,000-signature petition by concerned Christians and more than half of his own parliamentary party saying that he should not do so.

"It is his fault that large swathes of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods."

He went on to say no man, however powerful, "can mess with Almighty God with impunity and get away with it".

Previously, UKIP said Mr Silvester's views were "not the party's belief" but defended his right to state his opinions.

Mr Silvester defected to UKIP from the Conservatives in protest at David Cameron's support for same-sex unions.

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