Latvia must protect its gay community or face legal sanctions, the president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup for Gay and Lesbian Rights warned today.

Michael Cashman reacted angrily after Latvia defied its EU obligations by rejecting including sexual orientation in a new anti discrimination law.

Former EastEnder, turned Labour MEP for the West Midlands, said: “I intend to pursue this blatant disregard for EU laws with renewed vigour. Latvia must respect EU laws or she will be dragged kicking and screaming to the Court of Justice.

“The values of the EU are based on the determination that we will never again allow one group or minority to be scapegoats. The history of the second world war teaches us that if we fail to defend one another then collectively we will perish.”

“The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community has been an easy target. aided and abetted by religion, our rights and our freedoms have been attacked, denied and washed away. No more.

“Latvia has signed the Treaty of Accession to the European Union. If she fails to abide by that legally binding treaty then ultimately sanctions could follow.”

“However, I do not believe that these extremist politicians represent the decent civilised majority of Latvian citizens.

“Decency will prevail.”

The legislation, stipulated as a basis for the country’s membership of the political body, was rejected by Mps, after some described homosexuality as a sin.

Latvia’s Christian Democratic Party called homosexuals “degenerate.”

This week the European Union passed a resolution to combat homophobia on the continent which would see sentences handed down for homophobic, anti Semitic, and Islamophobic offences.