UKIP leader Nigel Farage attacks 'gay floods' coverage
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has attacked the widespread media coverage of one of the party's councillors claiming the government's decision to legalise gay marriage had caused the recent floods.
He said the level of interest showed rivals and the media were "scared witless" of UKIP's recent successes.
Councillor David Silvester said floods had happened after David Cameron acted "arrogantly against the gospel".
He has been suspended from UKIP following his comments.
Mr Silvester, a Christian, defected to UKIP from the Conservatives in February last year in protest against the government's decision to introduce same-sex marriages.
He had previously warned Mr Cameron in a letter: "Now, as prime minister, you are free to do that if you wish. What you are not free to do, and what only an Almighty God is free to do, is to control the divine consequences of your proposed action."
Mr Silvester recently wrote another letter, this time to the Henley Standard newspaper, saying the UK had been "beset by storms" since the passage of the law on gay marriage because Mr Cameron had acted "arrogantly against the Gospel".
'Not news story'
He said he had warned the prime minister of "repercussions" of changes and told BBC Radio Berkshire that his daily prayers had convinced him the recent flooding was the consequence.
Speaking to an audience in the City of London, Mr Farage said: "I think it is very interesting that, when Mr Silvester was saying these things in 2012 and 2013 as a Conservative town councillor in Henley, it was not a news story.
"But suddenly he switches to UKIP and continues the same thing and gets on the national news. I think that shows you and tells you all you need to know.
"The establishment, the status quo, the big businesses, the big Eurocrats and our three so-called main political parties are scared witless by what UKIP is doing because we are striking a chord not just for ordinary people but for many elements in the business community as well. They will try to do whatever they can to shoot us down."
Mr Farage added: "If you accept defectors from the Conservative Party you will always have embarrassments.
"Mr Silvester joined us from the Conservatives very recently - he said exactly the same things when he was in the Conservative Party. Now he is UKIP you are interested."