Newt Gingrich has described public pressure by gay rights groups that led to the resignation of the Mozilla CEO as ‘new fascism’.

The former Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker made the comments this morning on an episode of ABC’s This Week.

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned on Thursday after it emerged he had donated $1000 (£600) to help pass California’s ‘Proposition 8′ gay marriage ban in 2008.

He had faced a boycott from some gay groups, backed by OKCupid, after he refused to rule out further donations to anti-gay marriage groups.

Gingrich said: “He was pressured by a public campaign.

“This is just the most open blatant example of their new fascism, which says ‘if you don’t agree with us 100 percent, we have the right to punish you, unless you’re like Hillary and like Barack Obama and you recant’.

“In some places if you’re a young faculty member, and you have the wrong views, meaning conservative, you have no career.

When questioned on whether he would have the same stance on someone who actively opposed interracial marriage, Gingrich replied: “Do you want to live in an open and tolerant society, or do you have to impose your views at the cost of people’s jobs?”

He is the latest conservative figure to wade into the row, after a blog on the website of Herman Cain, who competed against Gingrich for the 2012 Republican nomination, compared homosexuals to the Borg from Star Trek.