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UKIP councillor quits after gay marriage fury
A UKIP politician has quit his party and resigned from Worcestershire County Council - saying he is furious about Nigel Farage's gay marriage stance.
Martin Jenkins, who was elected for the first time ever last May, says he is "fed up" over UKIP's refusal to back same sex nuptials.
The move is a fresh blow for UKIP in Worcestershire, which made an historic breakthrough at County Hall by winning four seats 11 months ago but now has just one.
Former UKIP councillor Eric Kitson resigned in disgrace just 10 days in after a raft of racist and anti-Semitic posts were found on his Facebook page.
Tony Baker then died of a heart attack in June last year, aged 69, leaving the UKIP group at County Hall with two members.
Mr Jenkins, who tendered his resignation on Monday, said he was watching BBC1's Question Time last week when UKIP MEP Roger Helmer said he was "uncomfortable" with gay marriage.
He said: "I was watching it with my partner and as the audience booed, we started to boo too.
"We then sat there in stunned silence. I thought 'this is the party I represent, I can't do this anymore'.
"Everything UKIP has said about gay marriage, refusing to accept it, I can't agree with that.
"I am very sad about it but that's my view. I have also resigned from the county council because I think it's right I do that, I was elected under a UKIP banner and people backed me because of that.
"I could stay on as an independent but I went to the voters on the basis I was UKIP and it'd be wrong to stay on as anything else."
Mr Jenkins, 42, who has his own business helping adults get fitter, had been getting more involved in council debates recently.
Only last month he gave a speech on a lack of high quality PE lessons in schools, saying it contributed to obesity.
His resignation means a by-election will now need to take place in Arrow Valley East, which will be timed to coincide with the European elections on Thursday, May 22.
UKIP did not want to comment on his decision, but say Mr Farage has so far avoided committing to gay marriage, saying it is a matter for the House of Commons to decide, but that he fears legal challenges against community leaders to refuse to conduct ceremonies.
Last month he said: "We're signing up to something and we do not know where it's going to lead."
The only remaining UKIP councillor at Worcestershire County Council is now Stuart Cross.
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