Former Conservative defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth has warned of the dangers of the “aggressive homosexual community”.

The Aldershot MP was speaking during the Commons debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on Monday evening.

Margot James, the first out lesbian Tory MP to be elected said gay rights legislation had necessarily “levelled the playing field” to ensure “outrageous verbal aggression” directed at gay people would stop.

In response, Sir Gerald said: “I warn her, I fear the playing field is not being levelled I believe the pendulum is swinging so far the other way, and there are plenty in the aggressive homosexual community who see this as but a stepping stone to something even further.”

The MP did not make clear what that further step would be.

Sir Gerald was also staunchly opposed to the introduction of civil partnerships.

In 2005, he said: “This is a Christian country and Christian teaching is very clear on these matters and I am extremely concerned that young people today are being bombarded with literature which suggests that a homosexual relationship is the same as a heterosexual relationship, which it is not.”

Meanwhile, LBC radio presenter and political blogger Iain Dale tweeted: “So what is the REAL agenda of the aggressive gays? Your suggestions please. Best will be read out on my @lbc973 show #sirgeraldhowarth.”

Mr Dale also retweeted a message by Luke Bozier, which said: “Can’t wait to see the Aggressive Homosexuals out in full force. Pink feather dusters, poppers, Kylie masks and all. #Terrifying.”