Gay Conservative MP Alan Duncan has responded to attacks from Labour MPs who called the opposition party ‘homophobic’.

Calling the accusations “poisonous mudslinging, the shadow leader of the House of Commons said they would “backfire dreadfully” on Labour.

Earlier today, Harriet Harman, the leader of the House of Commons and minister for equality, told PinkNews.co.uk that the “essential heart” of the party was homophobic, adding that people should not be “fooled” by David Cameron’s apology for Section 28.

Last night, openly gay ministers Ben Bradshaw and Chris Bryant attacked the opposition, with Bryant saying that gays who voted for the party would “rue the day very soon”.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews.co.uk, Duncan said: “This is the most poisonous mudslinging and Ben Bradshaw should be ashamed of himself. The whole of the gay community was sincerely hoping that after so many achivements, we could take the issue out of politics.

“I’ve always given Tony Blair credit for what Labour have achieved, such as civil partnerships, the equalising of the age of consent and the abolition of Section 28. For Chris Bryant and Ben Bradshaw to dig up old battles from the last century introduces unwanted division just when we had unity across the country. I think they will be roundly condemned for it.

“This is clearly a co-ordinated exercise by Labour. It is deeply unworthy and unjustified. If this is what they have to stoop to, it shows they have run out of decency and are not fit to govern. It will backfire dreadfully and more will desert the party.

“This is one of many attitudes that put people off Labour. All these issues are safe in our hands, just look at our list of candidates.

“It’s a sick scare story and I don’t know a single MP who has said they want to roll back reforms, not even in private conversation. It’s groundless malice.”