A Conservative MEP for London says North Cyprus president Derviş Eroğlu promised her he would repeal laws against homosexuality.

Marina Yannakoudakis was visiting Nicolosia as part of her role on an EU group for relationships with the Turkish Cypriot community.

She said: “It’s not illegal to be gay anywhere else in Europe; it’s not illegal to be gay in Turkey. Chapter 154 of the penal code is an anachronism and needs to be repealed. All Cypriot adults should have the right to engage in consensual sex be it with the same or different gender.

“I hope that Dr Eroğlu will keep the promise he made to me to rescind the ban and I will keep the pressure on him until he does.”

Ms Yannakoudakis’ statement follows news that three men were arrested by police last week for having gay sex in a private home.

They were arrested on the charge of “conspiring to have a sexual intercourse against the order of nature”, an offence which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

According to the Cyprus Mail, former finance minister Michalis Sarris, 65, was one of the three arrested. The other men were aged 17 and 30-something.

Unlike Cyprus, the Northern Republic still has British colonial laws against homosexuality. In July, newspaper reports said two men were arrested for having sex in a hotel.