Lewes UKIP councillor says businesses should have power to turn away women and gay people (From The Argus)
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Lewes UKIP councillor says businesses should have power to turn away women and gay people
A UKIP councillor believes business owners should be allowed to refuse to serve women and gay people.
Donna Edmunds, a Lewes district councillor and MEP candidate for the South East, said business people should be allowed to refuse service to anyone they want for whatever reason they want.
Responding to a post on an internet forum Coun Edmunds said they should be allowed to refuse service, including because a customer is gay or a woman.
She had been asked to state whether she supported remarks by Henley-on-Thames UKIP councillor David Silvester who said the floods this winter had been caused by the Government’s support for gay marriage.
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After saying she did not agree with her party colleague, she added: “I believe that all business owners, Christian, Muslim, gay, straight, should be allowed to withhold their services from whomever that choose whenever they choose.
“It’s their business. Why should they be forced to serve or sell to anyone?”
When asked by The Argus to clarify her statement the EU election hopeful said it would be ok for a shop owner to refuse to serve her based on no other fact than she was a woman, or if service was refused to a gay person.
She said: “I’m a libertarian so I don’t think the state should have a role on who business owners serve.
“I wouldn’t refuse to serve gay people. I’m not saying their position is a correct one. I’m saying they should be free to make that choice themselves.”
This is not the first time the Lewes councillor has garnered controversy after making statements online.
In 2011 she was forced to stand down from her role as lead councillor for communications in Lewes after labelling a constituent a “village idiot” on Twitter.
Before that she was criticised after telling a constituent to “pay your taxes to die of cancer if that’s what you want” during an online row about the NHS.
Nigel Carter, chairman of Brighton and Hove UKIP, said any action to be taken against the councillor within the party would be taken at a higher level but said her views did not represent the majority of those involved with UKIP.
James Ledward, editor of Brighton-based GScene magazine, described the views as “horrendous”.
He said: “I’m flabbergasted. There is no place for views like this is 2014.
“It is worrying because with proportional representation in the European elections someone like this could get in.
“It’s all well and good getting the government legislation through but we have to win the hearts and minds of people like this. It’s clear there is still work to do.”
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