Nick Clegg ‘most gay-friendly party leader’

Nick Clegg was first leader to back same-sex marriage. Picture: PA

Nick Clegg was first leader to back same-sex marriage. Picture: PA

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DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg is considered the most “gay-friendly” party leader – but the Liberal Democrats are struggling to turn that into votes, a poll found.

Research by PinkNews ranked him comfortably ahead of Labour’s Ed Miliband, Green Natalie Bennett and Tory Prime Minister David Cameron.

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But Ukip’s Nigel Farage was considered “extremely anti” by three-quarters of gay voters, the only leader seen by more people as homophobic rather than sympathetic to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) concerns.

LGBT issues have slipped down the agenda of gay voters – with the economy, the NHS and education all considered more important in choosing which party to back.

That is in some part due to the success in securing same-sex marriage – a reform Mr Clegg was the first to back publicly. But it might also help explain why his party has haemorrhaged gay votes – tumbling from 39 per cent at the 2010 general election to just 16.9 per cent now.

The main beneficiaries are the Green Party, whose support has soared from 3.8 per cent to 16.5 per cent, with the Tories also more than doubling backing from 10.4 per cent to 23 per cent. Labour retains the lead on 31.1 per cent (24.3 per cent in 2010).

The proportion of gay voters in Scotland backing the SNP has risen from 18 per cent to 43 per cent. PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen said: “The community is clear in its rejection of Ukip, with support far below national polling levels and Nigel Farage labelled as the least ‘pro-gay’ party leader in the UK.”

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