UKIP leader: I was fired over gay marriage

Jan. 10, 2013 at 12:51 AM

LONDON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The youth leader of the Euro-skeptic United Kingdom Independence Party says he was fired for showing too much independence on gay marriage.

Olly Neville said Wednesday he was told radio remarks he made in favor of allowing homosexual couples to marry were "completely at odds with the party's policy," The Independent reported. He said he also was told his openness could "slow the party's current growth."

The party said Neville, who became chairman of Young Independence in December, had misrepresented UKIP policy and was not fired because of his personal beliefs.

UKIP holds no seats in the House of Commons, although it has three members in the House of Lords and holds 12 of the 73 British seats in the European Parliament. Its success in by-elections since the 2010 general election has given it a claim to be the leading "third party," ahead of the Greens, the British National Party and even the Liberal Democrats.

Neville told the Independent the party is on "the wrong side of history" on gay marriage.

"I think they're probably going to throw me out," he said. "But I wanted to have my side of the story. I wanted people to know what happened because there has been a lot of speculation."

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