The National Union of Students (NUS) has joined the escalating row over Ruth Kelly’s appointment as Women and Equality Minister.

The NUS released a statement today urging Ms Kelly to back up her claim that she believes in equality with action, as the media scrutinise her refusal to be drawn on whether she thought homosexuality was a sin.

She is thought to be a member of Opus Dei, who hold conservative Catholic views on homosexuality.

NUS lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) officer James-J Walsh said: “Ruth Kelly’s views on homosexuality are clearly ambiguous. For the sake of community engagement and cohesion, she needs to ensure that her personal views do not impact on her political responsibilities considering her new remit at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

“She has stated on the record that she believes in equality and will work towards a fair and tolerant society. In order to prove that her sentiments aren’t hollow, Ruth Kelly needs to follow her promises up with clear action.”

He added, “As we move closer to creating one piece of legislation to tackle all forms of discrimination, it is vital she does all she can to ensure LGBT people get the same protection as other groups who are routinely discriminated against.

“The LGBT student community will be closely monitoring her performance in the role, and if her personal views do seem to be influencing her political activity, we would demand a very clear explanation from the Government.”