The Ugandan government has distanced itself from the infamous ‘kill the gays’ bill which was reintroduced to the parliament this week.

It said democratic processes required that it be debated, but that it was not part of the country’s legislative agenda to pass it.

Uganda already criminalises gay acts with a penalty of life imprisonment, but it is understood the bill would expand the range of punishable offences.

David Bahati’s bill, described by Barack Obama as “odious”, originally called for the death penalty for “aggravated”, or continued, homosexuality.

AP reports the death penalty clause has now been removed. In its place is life imprisonment for a person convicted of a gay act more than once.

The bill further required the death sentence for anyone convicted of homosexuality who is living with HIV or who has been convicted of homosexuality before.

Attempted homosexuality would carry a seven year prison sentence, as would aiding or abetting acts of homosexuality.

A fine of up to 500,000 shillings (£135) or a prison sentence up to three years are included for people who are aware of any gay offence but do not report it within 24 hours.

The Ugandan government statement said: “As a parliamentary democracy the process of debate will continue.

“Whilst the government of Uganda does not support this bill, it is required under our constitution to facilitate this debate.

“The facilitation of this debate should not be confused for the government’s support for this bill.”