Ukip donor says women cannot be raped by their husbands
Nigel Farage faces fresh embarrassment over the controversial views of its supporters when a former Ukip donor said on television that a woman could not be raped by her husband.
Demetri Marchessini, the party’s sixth-largest individual donor in 2013, also said that gay men experience “no love, only lust”. He first caused controversy a year ago when he said women should not wear trousers.
Ukip appeared to be thrown into confusion after Marchessini told Channel Four News he had made a £5,000 donation to the party in December, despite the party claiming it had severed its links with the millionaire.
Asked whether the party had accepted the donation, Farage said: “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask the treasurer won’t you. I’m sure he gave the money in good faith, the money was taken in good faith.”
The interview with Marchessini came hours after a remarkable day for the party. Farage’sdecision not to contest the Newark byelection was followed by an opinion poll that showed Ukip on course to achieve an emphatic victory in the European parliamentary elections next month.
The Ukip leader, who began the day denying he was too “frit” to stand in Newark, was shown to be the dominant force in British politics after theComRes/ITV News poll put support for his party at 38% for the European elections – an increase of eight points in three weeks.
Support for the party even topped 50% in two English regions – 53% in the eastern region and 52% in the West Midlands.
Labour is down three points in the overall poll on 27%, while the Tories trail in third place on 18%, down four points. The Liberal Democrats remain unchanged on 8%.
But Farage once again had to contend with the highly contentious views of a party supporter. Marchessini, who previously said there was no such thing as date rape, said that rape could not take place in marriage. “There’s no such thing,” he said.
“When you get married you promise to look after the other person for the rest of their life. You certainly don’t promise that you’re going to put them in jail. If you make love on Friday and make love Sunday, you can’t say Saturday is rape. Once a woman accepts, she accepts and especially when she makes a vow on her wedding day.”
Marchessini said that gay men are incapable of experiencing love. He said: “There’s no love, only lust, and also the physical actions that they do are completely different. They go out at night and they pick up five, ten, fifteen different partners in one night. Is that love?
“They are not husband and wife. They are roommates and both of them go out cruising. There is no such thing as fidelity in homosexual relationships. They just all go out looking for action. That’s the way it is.”
Farage last night acknowledged that Ukip may have been unwise to accept donations from Marchessini. Asked whether it was right to accept money, he said: “Possibly not, no.”
The latest row came after Farage shied away from standing in the Newark byelection which is expected to be held in June after the resignation of the former Conservative frontbencher Patrick Mercer. The former army officer was due to face a six-month suspension from parliament over a cash for questions scandal.
Tory MPs, saddened by the fall of Mercer, were buoyed by Farage’s acknowledgment that he would struggle to overturn the party’s 16,152 majority at the 2010 election. Ukip only managed to win 3.8% of the vote in the seat.
MPs joked about how Farage had displayed the weak characteristic of “frit” – Margaret Thatcher’s Lincolnshire description of politicians who avoid a fight. One said: “Roy Jenkins had been president of the European Commission and yet he fought a byelection [Warrington in 1981] which he lost. He then fought another one [Glasgow Hillhead in 1982] which he won. You have to ask: just which seat will suit Nigel Farage?”
The Tories will call the writ for the byelection, which will be held after the European elections on 22 May and Queen’s speech on 4 June. The likely dates are 5 or 12 June. The Tories have already selected Robert Jenrick as their candidate because Mercer resigned the Tory whip last year.