The President of the Islamic Medical Association has been suspended from medical practice for 12 months by the General Medical Council.

A fitness to practise hearing ruled against Dr Muhammad Siddiq in his absence.

Last week he dismissed his barrister at the hearing and then left the proceedings when he was refused an adjournement to find new counsel.

The GP had given differing explanations about a letter published in his name in a medical magazine that said gay people needed the “stick of law to put them on the right path.”

Andrew Popat, chair of the hearing, called the GP’s actions “liable to undermine public confidence in the medical profession and liable to bring the profession into disrepute. The panel continues to have concerns regarding Dr Siddiq’s insight into his actions.”

A journalist on the magazine in which the letter was published, Pulse, had told the hearing that in conversation Dr Siddiq had confirmed many of the views expressed in the letter.

Anthony Lithgow testified that the GP thought homosexuality should be illegal, gender reassignment surgery is a waste of money and gays “prey on society.”

Dr Siddiq denied that he authored the letter and claimed his son was playing a “cynical spoof” on him by forcing him to sign the letter and sending it to Pulse, a magazine for GPs.

The magazine published extracts of the letter and his employers, Walsall PCT Primary Care Trusts, called him to discuss his views.

He wrote to the PTC and apologised for the letter.

“I categorically and unreservedly apologise for the hurt and offence I may have caused to anyone who may have read my letter,” he wrote.

“I have practised as a GP for more than 30 years and have never discriminated on any grounds. I would never refuse any treatment because of someone’s sexuality.

“I just cannot understand how or why I could have said this in my letter.”

The fitness to practise hearing in Manchester heard that just a few days later he claimed his original draft letter had supported better treatment for gay patients.

The letter to Pulse read:

“There is punishment and fine if you throw rubbish or filth in the streets. The gays are worse than the ordinary careless citizen.

“They are causing the spread of disease with their irresponsible behaviour. They are the root of many sexually transmitted diseases.”

The letter went on to call a depressed transsexual awaiting gender reassignment “twisted.”