London MEP Sarah Ludford, an active member of the European
Parliament's Lesbian and Gay Rights Intergroup, made the comments
after yesterday's news unfolded that unofficial pro-gay leaflets
were distributed in a mostly-Muslim area to try and incite
Today, speaking exclusively to DIVA magazine, she said she finds
the literature "completely outrageous."
"It's cheap and nasty, but these things happen," she said. "There
are scurrilous people around in politics and they are trying to
whip up opposition towards the Liberal Democrats.
"That is not the main problem here because we have nothing to be
ashamed of, but what these people are doing by handing out these
leaflets is...whip up prejudice and hate. And we know there is a
big problem with hate crimes against LGBT people," she added.
The so-called gay leaflets - which unofficially featured the logos
of the Liberal Democrat party and gay news source PinkPaper.com -
were distributed to households in the Spinney Hill area of
Leicester South, this week.
Ludford was not the only one to be upset by the incident. Lucy
Watt, a lesbian and former Liberal Democrats deputy leader of
Islington Council, told DIVA today:"I think it is sad that people
feel they need to exploit the Liberal Democrat's very strong record
on supporting gay rights by distributing these leaflets in areas
where some communities are not tolerant of homosexuality.
"There is always tension between liberal values and the
conservative values of some people of faith, but it is a shame that
people felt the need to exploit this in such a cowardly way when
there are so many real issues to campaign on," she added.
The hand-out, which boasted about party members being "committed
homosexuals" and Nick Clegg having recently been voted sexiest
party leader by the readers of Pink Times, was almost immediately
identified as a sham.
Important details such as a legal imprint, required for election
literature during an election period, was missing and both the
party and the news source have confirmed they have nothing to do
with the leaflet.
Speaking exclusively to DIVA, Ken van Klaveren, press officer for
The Liberal Democrats added: "Our candidate, Zuffar Haq, has been
getting a good response out on the doorstep in Leicester South and
this may be a sign that someone is getting rattled, we might do a
little too well."