The president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz sparked a row yesterday, after he told a joint summit that African countries imprisoning gay and lesbian people should be disqualified from receiving EU aid.

Speaking to the summit with MPs from the Pan-African parliament on Monday, Mr Schulz said countries with anti-gay laws represent “an unacceptable violation of the basic rights of individuals.”

He added: “It is a disgrace that in far too many places, one can be imprisoned for their sexual orientation, and it is even more abhorrent that in some countries people are put to death because of their choice of who to love.”

“Appropriate measures should be taken against countries who continue to criminalise homosexuality or pass even more repressive laws,” he said, emphasising the need “to redirect aid to civil society and other organisations that fight against exclusion and discrimination based on sexual preference.

“LGBT rights are human rights!”

According to EurActiv, One Ugandan MP asked Mr Schulz how the EU would respond if the African Union tried to extend practices of polygamy which were “good for Africa” to Europe.

He said: ““We need to make sure each continent can have its values without necessarily affecting the other.”

Another parliamentarian said: “Homosexuality, while its part of your culture is in most of our countries – if not all – abominable.”

Last month, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning homophobic laws in Nigeria and Uganda.

Nigeria strengthened its laws against same-sex sexual activity in January.

Anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage or civil union may be jailed for up to 14 years

President Yoweri Museveni gave assent to a law further criminalising same-sex sexual activity in Uganda in February.