The Brighton and Hove Conservative Party has started disciplinary proceedings against a Conservative councillor who allegedly called gay people paedophiles.
Peter Willows, a Hangleton and Knoll ward councillor, faces expulsion from the Tory Party over remarks labelling gay people as paedophiles, which he is reported to have made at an annual Brighton and Hove City Council party last night.
The partygoers included many gay Brighton councillors including Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Elgood.
In an interview to be published in tomorrow’s Argus, Mr Willows said he did not think Mr Elgood is a paedophile, but admitted he may have said the remarks, but was drunk, “I don’t have the same hatred for the gay community that I have for paedophiles. But I don’t like them.
“They seem to want the rest of us who don’t agree with what they do to accept whatever it is they want.
“I don’t think the world should be that way,” he said.
Liberal Democrat MP, Evan Harris, told PinkNews.co.uk: “Everyone knows these attitudes are still alive and well in some parts of the Conservative Party.
It will be interesting to see what action is taken locally and nationally since a Sussex MP (Howard Flight) was dismissed before the national elections for talking about taxation.
“I wonder whether bigotry counts as a sackable offence!”
Chris Bryant, gay Labour MP for Rhondda, told PinkNews.co.uk: “It’s depressing to realise that such bigoted prejudice is still alive and well in the heart of the Tory party.”
This is not the first time Mr Willows has spoken out against Brighton’s gay community, in August 2005, he wrote a letter to The Argus criticising Gay Pride, “The Pride this year was a huge success for Brighton and Hove and for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
“The gay police association headed the parade from Madeira Drive through the city to Preston Park. The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force were represented for the first time ever. Organisers say the crowds of 120,000 poured into the city and spent lots of money in pubs, bars, restaurants, and businesses throughout the city.
“Great. In these days of political correctness, people are reluctant to voice their own opinions but I’m not. To Pride operations manager PJ Aldred and to all the helpers on the day, I say congratulations.
“In The Argus on Monday, August 8, we had a coloured photograph edition with pages of some of the more outrageous costumes – one man exposing his rear end for everyone to see and a lady also exposing everything from the waist upwards. And this is in the procession.
“If these two people were walking along the seafront in such a manner, would those gay police officers on frontline duty on the seafront arrest them and charge them with indecent exposure in a public place?
“It makes you think, doesn’t it?
The gay and lesbian community is very fragile to any type of criticism. But someone has to point these things out.
“Councillors and especially MPs are frightened to death of criticising the gay and lesbian community.
“At the end of the day, it’s the vote that counts, you see.
And this week he wrote a letter stating his opposition to flying the rainbow flag on the International Day Against Homophobia day because, “a flag should be for every person in that particular country to be proud and highly honoured of that flag. Why should any country have to fly a flag because of men sleeping together to have sex.
“And also women sleeping together to have sex. In my world that does not justify flying any flag. It’s an unnatural act, men or women.”
A spokesperson for Francis Maude, chairman of the Conservative Party, confirmed Mr Willows is being investigated by the local Brighton party group and its leader, Brian Oxley, a gay councillor.
“The national party is aware of the situation and a disciplinary procedure has been initiated at a local level, it will be up to the local Conservative group on the council to decide whether Mr Willows is a suitable representative of the party”
She told PinkNews.co.uk only parliamentary candidates are chosen by the national party, but the local group can recommend for his membership to be suspended by the central office.