Politicians in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have voted to repeal a ban against homosexuality.

Monday’s second reading approval by Turkish Cypriot deputies of an amendment to the island’s colonial era ban on gay sex marks the end of a long crusade by the Turkish Cypriot LGBT community, human rights activists and London Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis.

The bill still needs to be endorsed by Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu, but the MEP has received numerous assurances from Mr Eroğlu on her visits to the north part of the island that he supports the bill and will sign it into law.

Mrs Yannakoudakis said: “I congratulate the Turkish Cypriot LGBT community on finally being able to exercise the most basic human right of all – the right to love.

“I am proud to have stood up for Turkish Cypriot LGBTs and hope that my efforts to put pressure on Dr. Eroğlu and other politicians have helped speed up the process of decriminalisation.

“As other Commonwealth countries such as Nigeria and Uganda impose increasingly draconian measures to persecute LGBT people, I hope that people will learn from Cyprus that the anti-gay legacy of Britain’s colonial past should be scrapped and not strengthened.”

The northern part of Cyprus is the last part of Europe where it is illegal to be gay