The Conservative Party have hit back at claims made by Labour deputy leader candidate Hazel Blears that they are a party “riddled with homophobia.”
Ms Blears made the comments following a survey by Conservatives Home, the unofficial Conservative grassroots website.
The survey claimed that a third of all Conservative activists would not attend a Civil Partnership ceremony – even if invited by a friend.
The Conservative Party have questioned the validity of a survey of this kind and say that there is no evidence that the respondents were party members.
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Hazel Blears refers to an online survey conducted by the website Conservatives Home. This is not a survey of Conservative Party members.
“It is quite possible the survey was hijacked by Labour Party activists in an effort to discredit the Conservative Party. The survey in no way reflects Conservative Party policy or opinion.
“Hazel Blears demeans herself by using this website to attack the Conservative Party. It is ridiculous and shows why Hazel Blears is not up to the job of being Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.
“Hazel Blears should look at her own backyard, which she needs to get in order, before preaching to the Conservatives on diversity.”
The spokesperson quoted Labour run Salford Council as an example.
Of 20 Labour candidates in the 2007 local elections in Salford, 15 were male and five female. All 20 were of a white British ethnic origin.
Salford’s Labour Cabinet comprises of nine men and one woman.
There were 11 male Conservative candidates and nine women. The Conservative Party also had three ethnic minority candidates.
Salford’s Conservative Shadow Cabinet will be formally approved on Monday but will have five women (including the leader) and five men.
The spokesperson went on to say: “We have a number of Parliamentary Candidates who are gay. We are not a homophobic Party and for Hazel Blears to suggest so is not only wrong but deeply disturbing.
“Someone using such a speculative survey to antagonise and stir up difference is highly questionable and those who do so only discredit themselves.”
In a poll earlier this month by PinkNews.co.uk, 40 per cent of voters selected Sir Menzies Campbell as their Prime Minister of choice, 33 per cent David Cameron and just 27 per cent would vote for Prime-Minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown.
Mr Brown has on 14 separate occasions failed to attend the House of Commons when issues relating to gay equality were voted on.
He failed to support the government’s equalisation of the age of consent, the abolition of Section 28, gay couples being able to jointly adopt, civil partnerships and the Equality Act.
Hazel Blears responded: “It wasn’t Labour who introduced Section 28.”