A Brexit Party candidate has said the Remembrance Poppy should not be used to promote political issues or groups such as the LGBT community.
Nicholas Goulding is running as the party’s candidate for Eddisbury, Cheshire in the forthcoming December 12 general election.
An unofficial version of the Remembrance Sunday poppy is being used to represent soldiers from the LGBT community and is being sold online.
If your gay, bi, trans or whatever, i don’t care. You have a pride month to celebrate who you are. Please dont take over the one day a year where i get to remember my friends and all those that died for this country. Leave the poppy alone and have some respect. pic.twitter.com/ocRcnAdkIM— Trevor Coult MC (@TrevorCoultMC) November 5, 2019
However, Trevor Coult - a former solider and military cross recipient - posted a tweet expressing his outrage, which the Brexit Party hopeful Mr Goulding retweeted.
The original tweet said: "If your gay, bi, trans or whatever, I don’t care.
“You have a pride month to celebrate who you are. Please don’t take over the one day a year where i get to remember my friends and all those that died for this country.
“Leave the poppy alone and have some respect."
Mr Goulding retweeted the post showing the version of the poppy - which contains five petals instead of the trademark two, which has been used as the Remembrance Sunday symbol for over 50 years.
Speaking to Yahoo News UK, Mr Goulding explained he supported Mr Coult's tweet because the symbol of remembrance should be "kept outside the political frame" as it is a symbol of unity that represents everyone in the country.
The Brexit Party candidate said: "It, the poppy symbol, has been established as an emblem of remembrance and it shouldn’t be adulterated for other means. It shouldn't be used for other purposes, no matter what that purpose should be.
"It should be there to unite everyone in the country. If you take an emblem and use it for political controversy, then you are undermining a symbol for the nation."
Mr Goulding explained that he is not against other campaigns - but feels that the poppy should be used to remember those who gave their lives in conflict.
He added: "That's not to say I'm against other campaigns, it's to say I think Remembrance Day and the poppy emblem should be kept outside the political frame.
"When you see the leaders sitting next to each other at the Cenotaph, that’s acceptable as they display national unity.
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“The people who died died for the country as a whole and their immediate friends and comrades did so without making reservation as to who it was for.
“We shouldn’t use that to make any point. I may be from the Brexit Party - but I’m not using that as a handle.
“It is a symbol for everybody, and it also represents the Liberal Democrats, or the Greens, or the Tories. They all share the same heritage."
Meanwhile, the Royal British Legion (RBL) - which has trademarked the official red poppy that is manufactured by veterans each year at its headquarters in Richmond - said the new take on the poppy is unofficial.
A spokesperson for RBL said: “We can confirm we have not altered our red two-petal poppy or issued a rainbow poppy. The red poppy recognises the service and sacrifice of people from all communities who have served with the British Armed Forces, including those from the LGBT community.”
But LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell said that not all sections of societies were honoured for their sacrifices.
Mr Tatchell told Yahoo News UK: “On Remembrance Sunday, it is quite right that we honour all those who fought for freedom against the Nazis and other tyrannies, including black and LGBT+ military personnel.
“An estimated 200,000 LGBT+ soldiers, sailors and served during the Second World War in the fight against German and Japanese fascism.
“For decades, the Royal British Legion refused to acknowledge that any LGBT+ people risked and gave their lives to defend democracy.
"Wreaths in their memory were removed and vandalised. LGBT+ veterans were refused permission to march in the Remembrance Day parade.
“On Remembrance Sunday, I will be joining a gay veteran to lay a pink triangle poppy wreath at the Cenotaph. Like thousands of others, he was jailed and booted out of the armed forces for no other reason than his sexuality.
“The military has a shameful record of homophobic witch-hunts and should make a public apology to the personnel they mistreated.”