The Conservative Party has today swiftly deselected a candidate who said homosexual conduct is not “normal” and he wouldn’t encourage children to indulge in it.
Philip Lardner, a primary school teacher, was standing for the Tories in North Ayrshire and Arran.
He said churches should not be forced to have practising homosexual clergy and Christians should not be penalised for politely saying that homosexuality is ‘wrong’.
David Cameron spoke of the speed with which he decided to suspend the candidate: “I couldn’t have acted quicker – decisive action in minutes of finding out about this.”
Mr Lardner made his comments on his campaign website, but they have since been removed.
He has been suspended from the party today and a Tory spokesman said his views were “deeply offensive and unacceptable”.
But Tim Montgomerie of the respected blog Conservative Home said: “I see no evidence for hatefulness in Mr Lardner’s remarks, even though I disagree with his choice of words.
“Although he’s probably wrong to say ‘most of the population’ share his views, they are shared by many conservative Christians and people of other faiths. His suspension by the Scottish Conservative Party seems a disproportionate response.”
In 2008 Mr Lardner controversially praised former Rhodesia leader Ian Smith, although he later issued a statement regretting his remarks.
The pinknews website – which covers homosexual news – has reported that Mr Lardner wrote: “I will always support the rights of homosexuals to be treated within concepts of (common-sense) equality and respect, and defend their rights to choose to live the way they want in private, but I will not accept that their behaviour is ‘normal’ or encourage children to indulge in it.
“The promotion of homosexuality by public bodies (as per ‘clause 28′/section 2a in Scotland,) was correctly outlawed by Mrs Thatcher’s government. Toleration and understanding is one thing, but state-promotion of homosexuality is quite another.
“Why should Christian churches be forced by the government to employ homosexuals as ‘ministers’ against all that the Bible teaches? They are being forced by the government to betray their mission – would the Equality and Human Rights Commission be fined for refusing a job to Nick Griffin?
“Christians (and most of the population) believe homosexuality to be somewhere between ‘unfortunate’ and simply ‘wrong’ and they should not be penalised for politely saying so – good manners count too, of course.
“The current ‘law’ is wrong and must be overturned in the interests of freedom as well as Christian values.”
Earlier this month Senior Tory Chris Grayling was slammed by Labour and the Lib Dems for suggesting that Christians who run a B&B from their own home should be allowed to exercise their conscience over who is allowed a double bed.
Labour’s Ben Bradshaw, who is openly homosexual, said Mr Grayling showed “that the Conservatives have not really changed on this and many other issues”.
Alan Johnson, Labour’s Home Secretary, said the Tory leader David Cameron should either “back him or sack him”.
Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: “Chris Grayling’s plan would allow discrimination to thrive”.
But Mr Grayling said that “we must be sensitive to the genuinely held principles of faith groups in this country.”