Newark UKIP Candidate Helmer Slams Mail on Sunday's 'Deliberate Hatchet Job' & 'Trashy Journalism' Over 'NHS Gay Cures'.

ROGER HELMER has gone to war over an article published by the Mail on Sunday as "Trashy" and "Hatchet Job" that "represents an offence under electoral law", TBG can reveal.

In a letter to the Mail on Sunday's political editor Helmer says that the journo deliberately published an attack article to effect the outcome of the Newark by-election, set to take place this Thursday. Helmer in particular takes issue with the assertion that he ever said he agrees with "gay cures" being available on the NHS.

Helmer says - "The piece bore little or no relation to our interview, and appears to be simply a pre-cooked hatchet job, packed with deliberate and defamatory lies."

Full letter to Mail on Sunday below:

"Dear Simon,

"A few days ago I took time out of my busy by-election schedule for an interview with you. You raised the issue of homosexuality. I was reluctant to spend time on it, as it is not high on my agenda and it certainly doesn’t seem to exercise voters in Newark -- it has never once been raised with me in the street or on the doorstep. And I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the media’s relentless obsession with a few tangential remarks on social issues from years ago, and reluctance to address the real issues of either the euro-elections or the Newark campaign. Nevertheless I answered your questions clearly and honestly.

"So I was shocked to read your subsequent story, in which you assert that I 'called for gay cures on the NHS'. This is a deliberate and defamatory lie. I said no such thing. You have deliberately and knowingly published a false and defamatory statement a few days ahead of a critical by-election, with the prima facie objective of influencing the outcome of that election. I understand that this represents an offence under electoral law.

"The question arose because of a minor furore in the media three years ago over therapists and/or religious groups who claimed to be able to reverse an individual’s sexual orientation. There was a great deal of strident and aggressive criticism from the gay lobby at the time, both against those offering such 'treatment', and against individuals who sought it. I felt that this criticism was deeply illiberal, and that if an individual believes that a course of treatment would help him, or might help him, then in a free country he should be entitled to pursue it.

"I also made a comparison with homeopathy, another therapy about whose efficacy there is widespread scepticism. I don’t know whether a person’s sexual orientation can be changed, and I don’t know if homeopathy works. In both cases I doubt it. But as a libertarian I defend the right of those who think either might work to engage with them.

"Let’s be clear: I have never said that homosexuality is 'an illness', or that it can be 'cured'. I have never asserted that homosexuals can be 'turned'. I have never advocated 'gay cures'.

"In particular I would vehemently oppose any move to offer 'gay cures' on the NHS. No treatment should be offered on the NHS unless it is of proven clinical efficacy and demonstrable cost-effectiveness. I am not aware of any proposal to offer 'gay cures' on the NHS -- this appears to be a figment of your imagination. But if there were any such proposal, I should oppose it robustly. Your suggestion that I 'called for gay cures on the NHS' is a downright and preposterous lie, and a deliberate attempt to damage my reputation.

"In fact you have not written up our interview at all. You have simply written up your own preconceived stereotype of what a UKIP candidate might be like, and you have totally ignored what I actually said to you. This is nothing less than a deliberate hatchet job.

"Nowhere is your trashy journalism more evident than in your description of me as 'a retired colonel'. Had you asked, or had you done a scrap of relevant research, you would have found that I am not a retired colonel, and that I have never served in the Armed Forces at any time.

"Will you please now issue an immediate retraction and apology, ahead of Thursday’s by-election. If you fail to do so, I shall certainly refer the matter to the Press Complaints Commission, and I will also consider what legal remedies may be available."