A former donor to UKIP has inexplicably responded to a Times columnist’s article condemning a Russian anti-gay law, by taking out an advert in the Telegraph and claiming that homophobia does not exist.

Demetri Marchessini took out the full-page ad in the Telegraph, responding to Libby Purves’ Times column.

In it, Marchessini, who donated £10,000 to UKIP in 2013, wrote an open letter in the advert, which appears in today’s Telegraph on page 27. He attacks Puves for her “pro-gay” stance for her 20 January Times column titled ‘Surprise, surprise: dictators are also bigots’.

“One of the fascinating questions about journalistic life in London is why the well-known columnist Libby Purves, who has clearly stated that she does not believe in religion, repeatedly tells those who do believe in religion, what they should think,” the open letter begins.

He goes on to claim that within Christianity, homosexuality has been considered a sin for over 2,000 years, and claims that the word “homophobic”, is not real, and that it does not appear in dictionaries.

UKIP Purves

The letter appeared in the Telegraph (Image: Twitter)

Marchessini then points out “several serious inaccuracies in Miss Purves’ column”, saying: “It has already been repeatedly explained to her, that there is no such word as ‘homophobic’. It cannot be found in any dictionary, nor does it have any meaning.” (PinkNews notes that the word appears in various dictionaries both printed and online)

The Greek-born businessman then writes: “What Miss Purves and many others cannot grasp is the fact that when our government made homosexuality legal, it did not make it moral. Governments can decide on laws, but only God decides on morality. How can anybody, let alone Miss Purvis [sic], tell people what they should think about homosexuality?”

And concludes: “How can we persuade Miss Purves to comment on something that she knows more about?”

Purves tweeted dismissing Marchessini as “a joke”, but goes on to say that the persecution of Russian LGBT people is not a joke.

Marchessini has in the past taken out similar ads to complain about columns, and at one point published an e-book which criticised women who wear trousers.