Brian Coleman, openly gay Deputy Chairman of the London Fire Authority, has branded the 10 Scottish fire-fighters who refused to distribute leaflets at gay pride “bigots”.

The officers face disciplinary action after they refused to hand out standard fire safety leaflets at the Pride Scotia march in Glasgow last month.

Mr Coleman said: “These fire-fighters are bigots and their actions cast a shadow over the good work that fire authorities have done to engage the gay community.

“Things are getting better in the service, but clearly there are still pockets of bigotry that need to be removed. In London we host a very popular breakfast event at Soho Fire Station during Pride, we find that by engaging the gay community we can improve the service we offer right across the board.”

The Cowcaddens fire-fighters had been asked to hand out leaflets at the rally in a publicity exercise but are believed to have refused on moral grounds.

Scottish National Party MSP, Fergus Ewing backed their stance, he told the BBC it was “unbelievable” that they would be in trouble for their private opinions.

The men were reported by their senior officers after the event which took place on June 24 2006.

Organisers of the march said the men were public servants and should be representative.