Conservative Party leader David Cameron forced a Welsh Assembly candidate to stand down just 24 hours after he had been selected, over rows about “homophobic” remarks.

John Jenkins, 25, stood down as the Conservative candidate for the key seat of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire after continued controversy over claims he made in 2003 that being gay was a “medical mental condition.”

The remarks made on a website in 2003 had resulted in him standing down from the Llanelli seat, but local party members nevertheless chose the councillor for a different seat late on Wednesday night.

Mr Cameron, who is targeting gay party members as priorities for the party, is thought to have insisted Mr Jenkins step aside. He wants the party to have an “A list” of candidates reflecting 21st century Britain.

The Western Mail reported that Mr Jenkins had told a chat room site, “I hold my hands up and admit to being ‘homophobic’ if you must label me.

“I cannot convince myself of anything other than homosexuality being a medical mental condition. I would not harm an individual for being gay but just think that they need medical attention rather than their ‘fashionable’ display of sexual deviancy being pandered to.”

A spokesman for the Conservative Party told PinkNews.co.uk: “John Jenkins has resigned this evening as the candidate for Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South at next year’s National Assembly elections.”

“John Jenkins does not accept that views on homosexuality on a web site three years ago were his, and believes that these views are totally unacceptable in politics. Following continued speculation, he has, however, decided to resign as the candidate in these elections in the best interests of the Conservative Party.”

Labour AM Christine Gwyther said Mr Jenkins’s selection was a “farce” and “insulting to all sensible, decent people, who are repulsed by this form of extremist politics”,