It is said that the Conservative MP of 16 years told A-Level politics students at Christ the King College that homosexuality is ‘wrong’ and ‘dangerous to society’. The comments have caused outrage online and resulted in calls for him to resign – something which he has now done.
In a statement Mr Turner has this afternoon said:
“It has been my privilege to serve the people of the Isle of Wight as their Member of Parliament.
“I have been incredibly fortunate to represent such a beautiful constituency. After 16 years I have come to the decision that it time for a new generation to take up the mantle of representing my fantastic constituents.
“I am grateful for the support I have received from islanders and proud of the record that Conservatives have in delivering for the Island.
“In the forthcoming election I will be supporting the Conservative candidate to ensure the strong and stable leadership of Theresa May is returned to Downing Street.“
Reacting to the allegations, organisations of the inaugural Isle of Wight Pride – which was the topic of conservation when the remarks were made – have said:
“As a group we avoid making political comments, but in the light of the allegations, we are deeply shocked and saddened.
“Any person who makes such a statement in a public forum as our MP is dangerous.
“Suicide rates amongst LGBT young people are still disproportionately high. Mr Turner did not know if anyone in the room was struggling with their Sexuality or Gender identity and he does not know how his comments may impacted on those present.
“There are lots of organisations available to provide support and guidance to LGBT young people, including Stonewall and also our own Breakout Youth service.
“Nobody should be told they are a danger to society based on who they love or their Gender identity”.
The shocking events of today throws a new light on the upcoming General Election in June, which could now go in the Green Party’s favour with candidate Vix Lowthion a favourite to take the victory.
Vix has this afternoon said:
“His position was untenable. He had to resign.
“Sixteen years of a Conservative MP on the island – and very few achievements.
“The new Conservative candidate – whoever it is – will continue to support the Government’s currently hugely damaging policies. They will continue to starve the NHS of funds, to pursue fracking and oil drilling, to make cuts to schools, social care and public services.
“To elect another Conservative MP will be bad for the people of Isle of Wight.
“We must vote Green, for a cleaner, brighter, fairer island. Now is the time to stand up for what matters, and make 2017 the fresh, hopeful beginning the island needs!”
UKIP have now issued a statement on Mr Turner’s actions. The local UKIP LGBT spokesman Rod Mosnicka, the Party’s candidate for Newport East in the Local Elections has said:
“This shows how out of touch Andrew Turner and the Conservatives are. Once you scratch the surface the same old prejudices come through.”
Meanwhile Branch Chairman Cllr Daryll Pitcher has added that he is concerned the comments could damage the relationship between politicians and the LGBT community:
“As a Party with an openly Gay Deputy Leader we find it unacceptable that these views have found a home in the Conservatives. Andrew Turner’s comments cannot have come as a complete shock to his Party, they must have known his stance and yet until now they have done nothing.”
Responding to yesterday’s events Cllr Stewart has said:
“I could not condone in any way the comments by Andrew Turner and I feel he is right to stand down.
“Island Conservatives are fielding several candidates in next week’s council elections who are gay, and this is most certainly not an opinion that either myself or anyone else in the team of Conservative council candidates would ever support.
“It is very disappointing to hear such comments from someone I know and it is a shame for him to end to his career in this way, but what he said was unacceptable.
“Moving forward, I can assure people on the Isle of Wight that Island Conservatives, led by me, are against this sort of intolerance”.