The Scottish Conservative Party candidate suspended for saying homosexuality is “not normal” has attacked the party for “political correctness”.
Philip Lardner, a primary school teacher who was the Tory candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran, accused Tory leader David Cameron of pushing Christians out of the party.
He told STV today: “David Cameron appears to be saying there is no place in the party for anyone with Christian beliefs.
“I believe ordinary people are sick and tired of political correctness. This is still a broadly Christian country, and I believe parents should have the right to oppose the promotion of homosexuality in schools.
“By suspending me as a Tory, David Cameron appears to be saying there is no place in the party for anyone with Christian beliefs.”
The comments on Mr Lardner’s campaign website were revealed yesterday.
He had written that “most” people agree that homosexuality is wrong, that it is not normal and that children should not be “encouraged” to “indulge” in it. He also gave his support to Section 28, the repealed law which banned promotion of homosexuality in schools.
Today, he defended the remarks, calling them “respectful and simple common sense”.
Despite losing the support of the Conservative Party, Mr Lardner said he wanted to run as an independent candidate. His name will remain on the ballot paper for next week’s polling date.
He said: “I’m still a candidate on ballot papers in North Ayrshire and Arran and if voters back my stand for free speech, I will become their independent Member of Parliament.”
The incumbent MP for the constituency is Labour’s Katy Clark, who is defending a majority of 11,296.
Mr Lardner’s views were quickly rebutted by the party yesterday.
The chairman of the Conservative Party in Scotland, Andrew Fulton, said they were “deeply offensive and unacceptable”, while Mr Cameron said he took action against Mr Lardner “within minutes”.
Mr Lardner was suspended from the party in 2008 for calling the racist former leader of Rhodesia Ian Smith his hero.
He also defended Enoch Powell, saying that “in a small way “, the former Tory shadow minister had been right on immigration.