The work of the Equality and Human Rights Commission on sexual orientation will not be compromised by the appointment of Joel Edwards, its director of stakeholder relations has said.

Bradley Brady was speaking at a fringe meeting at the TUC conference on religion and homophobia.

He said that Mr Edwards, an Evangelical Christian preacher who has opposed gay equality legislation in the past, was appointed by the government and not the EHRC.

Mr Brady said that the commission will confront homophobia in religion and work to create a better environment for LGBT people of faith.

Earlier this week the TUC, which represents 6.5 million members in the UK, condemned Mr Edwards’ appointment and demanded he be removed.

The motion, which was moved by the openly gay president of the National Union of Journalists, James Doherty, and passed unanimously, said:

“Confidence that the EHRC will promote further equality for LGBT people has been deeply undermined.

“Congress notes that “all (EHRC) Commissioners have a collective responsibility clause in their Code of Conduct” and calls on the General Council to ensure that Mr Edwards and his fellow Commissioners adhere to the code.”

The Equality and Human Rights Commission was established by the Equality Act 2006 and began work last October.

It brought together the three existing UK equality commissions – the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission.

The EHRC incorporates three new human rights strands – age, sexual orientation and religion and belief.

Last year a Commission spokesperson defended Mr Edwards’ appointment:

“Joel Edwards has been appointed by the Secretary of State and we welcome him joining the Commission,” she said.

“He is well qualified as leader of the Evangelical Alliance and brings expertise both as a faith leader and a senior figure in the black community.

“The Equality and Human Rights Commission is supposed to represent a wide range of views and opinions and we welcome lively debate.

“No two Commissioners share the same views on every matter; and all Commissioners have their individual disagreements with aspects of law, government and Commission policy; our diversity is one of our strengths.”