A Conservative MEP has said that homophobia does not exist and is simply a “propaganda device”.

Roger Helmer, Conservative MEP for the East Midlands, wrote on his blog: “‘Homophobia’ is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinions, which have been held by most people through most of recorded history.

“It is frightening evidence of the way in which political correctness is threatening our freedom.”

Helmer, who is honorary chairman of the right-wing Freedom Association, added: “It is creating ‘thought crimes’, where merely to hold a conventional opinion is seen, in itself, to be unacceptable and reprehensible. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it.”

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill told the Independent that Helmer should meet the families of Michael Causer and Jody Dobroski, two gay men who were beaten to death.

On the blog, titled Straight Talking, Helmer also defended Michal Kaminksi, who has been accused of homophobia and anti-semitism.

In a television interview in 2000, Kaminski, a Polish Law and Justice Party MEP, was heard to call gay people a derogatory term that can be translated as “fags” or “queers”.

Last month, a Tory MEP was expelled from the Conservatives’ grouping in the European Parliament for standing against Kaminski, the group’s official vice-president candidate.

Edward McMillan-Scott, the longest-standing Conservative MEP, told PinkNews.co.uk that the party’s record on gay rights was “part of the picture” of why he defied orders.