Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis says foreign aid to Uganda from the EU should be halted if the country’s parliament passes the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The London MEP made the comments on Monday in the European Parliament.

In a direct rebuke at Uganda’s Parliamentary Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who last week claimed the bill should be passed as a “Christmas gift”, Mrs Yannakoudakis responded by saying:

“This is a terrible present for the Ugandan people at a time when we should be celebrating peace and goodwill to all men and women.

“This law, if passed, will allow gays and lesbians to be sentenced to life in prison. I believe that this is a violation of human rights and that the EU must respond by immediately suspending its aid to Uganda”.

The MEP continued: “In 2010, the EU institutions gave 97 million euros to Uganda. 40% of all EU aid to the country is channelled through general budget support, which means that the money is paid directly to the Ugandan government.

“Prime Minister David Cameron has promised that UK aid will have more strings attached.

“The EU needs strings of its own to protect LGBT people in third countries who are under the threat of oppression.”