A UKIP local election candidate in Liverpool who said gay men are “ten times more likely to be child abusers” has been criticised by the leader of the Liberal Party (a separate party from the Liberal Democrats).

Paul Forrest described the Catholic Church as the “anti-Christ” on Facebook and said that gay men are “ten times more likely to be child abusers” than “normal men”.

In response, Steve Radford, President of the Liberal Party and a fellow councillor in Liverpool said Mr Forrest’s views were “bigoted”.

He told PinkNews.co.uk: “I would like to challenge the national leadership of UKIP why there are so many bigoted outbursts coming from UKIP candidates when the party claims it is somehow a libertarian party?”

Of Mr Forrest’s homophobic claims, Mr Radford added: “Where is the evidence for this?

“Most of the research into child abuse is that well over 80% of child abuse happens from within the immediate ‘normal’ family.”

The councillor said that UKIP were “pandering to homophobia”.

At the weekend, UKIP leader Nigel Farage claimed that the establishment was “singling out” UKIP members for ridicule, and that there was a “disproportionate” media spotlight on UKIP prospective councillors like Harry Perry.

Mr Perry had described David Cameron a “gay loving nut case” and claimed that God “hates” homosexuality.

He has since been suspended.