A senior Florida Republican has presented a novel defence for his actions after his arrest on charges of solicitation last month.

Bob Allen, co-chairman of the campaign to select Senator John McCain as the Republican US Presidential candidate, was spotted by police in Titusville, Florida on July 11th acting suspiciously at the men’s toilets in a park.

Officers decided to send a policeman undercover to investigate, and within minutes Mr Allen allegedly agreed to pay him $20 (£10) to allow him to perform oral sex.

He was arrested and charged with solicitation to commit prostitution and faces a year in jail or a $500 fine.

As a Florida state representative he voted against a range of gay rights measures.

He resigned from the McCain campaign when he was arrested but maintains he is innocent and will not resign from the state legislature.

Mr Allen told police that he was not loitering in the public toilet looking for sex, according to documents seen by the Orlando Sentinel.

“This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park,” he said in a taped statement, and added that he was worried he would “become another statistic,” meaning that he was concerned he would be assaulted.

The undercover police officer’s statement says that Mr Allen twice peered over the top of a toilet cubicle he was occupying, then entered the cubicle.

They discussed payment for oral sex, but Mr Allen was concerned the park toilet was too public.

As Mr Allen then indicated to the police officer to follow him outside to his car, he was arrested.

Representative Allen had sponsored a failed bill in the Florida statehouse earlier this year, the Lewdness and Indecent Exposure Bill, designed to increase the penalties for committing “unnatural and lascivious acts or exposure or exhibition of sexual organs committed within specified distance of certain locations.”

Since his election in 2000, he has been one of the most homophobic politicians in the Florida state senate.

He received the title of “Wicked Witch,” which is reserved for “The Worst of the Worst,” from Florida’s Rainbow Democratic Gay Lesbian organisation.

According to the biographical information provided on the Florida House of Representatives website, he is 48 and married with one child.