Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford has criticised Tory and UKIP MEPs for abstaining over European proposals to tackle LGBT discrimination.

The European Parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a new European Union LGBT roadmap to help tackle widespread discrimination.

The Lunacek report calls for legislation to prohibit incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. It also recommends proposals for the mutual recognition of documents across the EU to reduce barriers on same-sex couples in exercising their right to freedom of movement.

Safeguarding LGBT freedom of expression and effective monitoring of equal treatment in employment is also recommended.

Liberal Democrat MEP for London, Baroness Ludford, said: “With half of LGBT people in Europe subject to some form of discrimination, urgent action is needed to ensure the gay community is protected. As a Liberal Democrat, I want to see equal treatment become the norm across Europe.”

“The roadmap is not about giving the LGBT community special privileges. It’s simply a recognition that existing rights applicable to everyone are not being properly enforced for LGBT people.”

She added: “It’s a disgrace that Conservative MEPs failed to support action to tackle LGBT discrimination, following in the footsteps of their ideological bedfellows UKIP. While UKIP and the Tories continue to ignore the injustices that LGBT citizens face, Liberal Democrat MEPs will keep putting gay rights, as part of human rights, a core focus of our work in the European Parliament.”

The Chair of LGBTory, Colm Howard-Lloyd, rejected Baroness Ludford’s claims.

He told PinkNews.co.uk: “Conservative MEPs strongly support LGBT rights and actively campaign to ensure these are upheld.  Marina Yannakoudakis, a Conservative MEP for London, was instrumental in working with the Turkish Cypriot community to decriminalise homosexuality there just a few weeks ago.

“Discrimination is something that must be tackled by EU member states not distant bureaucrats in Brussels. This is why all Conservative MEPs voted Abstain, a distinct vote in the European Parliament, on the roadmap and will continue to support and monitor member states to ensure they meet the high standard of equality set-out in the report.”