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Ukip Newark candidate dismisses homophobia claims

Ukip's newly-selected Newark candidate Roger Helmer has told ITV News political correspondent Libby Weiner that the seat is an "enormous opportunity for the party".

Asked if some of his views regarding homosexuality were controversial, he replied: "They were a couple of peripheral comments made more than 10 years ago. The world has changed, it's a new place now."

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Helmer dismisses claim he 'encouraged homophobia'

by - Political Correspondent

Ukip's newly-selected candidate for the Newark by-election Roger Helmer has dismissed suggestions he's encouraged homophobia in the past.

Ukip's newly-selected candidate for the Newark by-election Roger Helmer. Credit: www.rogerhelmermep.co.uk

Mr Helmer, currently an MEP, blamed the media for dragging up what he called a "couple of peripheral comments that were made more than ten years ago".

Asked if he stood by his comments that some people found homosexuality distasteful, he said: "Some people dislike it and this is a fact. Some people do all sorts of things, that doesn't mean I commend them."

Controversial Ukip MEP Roger Helmer to run in Newark

Ukip have selected East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer to run in the Newark by-election triggered by the recent resignation of Tory MP Patrick Mercer.

Mr Helmer, who defected from the Conservatives in 2012, has come under fire for remarks about homosexuality.

He has said that some people find same-sex relationships "distasteful, if not viscerally repugnant".

UKIP MEP Roger Helmer is to contest the Newark by-election. Credit: www.rogerhelmermep.co.uk

Ukip leader Nigel Farage also rebuked him for writing a blog that appeared to draw comparison between same-sex marriage and incest.

However Mr Helmer has insisted he is "liberal and tolerant" about homosexuality and has "no interest in telling consenting adults what they may or may not do".

Read: Farage: Newark is the wrong seat...I wouldn't have won

Fellow Ukip MEP: Bloom's comments 'very damaging'

Fellow Ukip MEP Roger Helmer has criticised Godfrey Bloom, who has had the party whip removed after calling women "sluts" at a Ukip fringe event.

Mr Helmer told Channel 4 News:

He is a colourful and outspoken character and I don't think there's any malice in his make up...It's quite clear that today he went way over the top, his remarks are very unhelpful, very damaging.

I'm sorry he didn't keep his tongue under a little more control.

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