UKIP’s candidate for the Newark by-election has accused the media of being “obsessed with sexuality”, after he was challenged about his opinions on homosexuality.

When asked by Channel 4’s News Political Correspondent Michael Crick about his previous remarks that gay people were “abnormal” and “undesirable”, Roger Helmer said: “I’m here to talk about Newark and the things that matter to Newark and the opportunity for Newark to make a mark …”

Mr Crick interrupted Mr Helmer to say: “Well [the question] matters to gay people in Newark. Do you not think there are any gay people in Newark?”

The MEP replied: “That may be your opinion it is not my opinion.”

Asked to explain his position on same-sex marriage, Mr Helmer said: “No. I have explained myself at great length. My position on gay marriage is the party’s position on gay marriage.”

He added: “I don’t know why you guys in the media are obsessed with sexuality but there are other issues.”

On Wednesday, Roger Helmer insisted he was not homophobic and blamed his “traditional” upbringing for his infamous remarks.

Last week he found himself at war with The Sun after the paper accused him of being a “bigot” over his views on homosexuality.

“Different people may have different tastes,” he said. “You may tell me that you don’t like Earl Grey tea. That may be a minority view but you are entitled not to like it if you don’t like it.”

The paper mentioned that Mr Helmer had said it was okay for people to find homosexuality “distasteful if not viscerally repugnant”.

It quoted his remarks made in 2000 while a Conservative MEP – in a pamphlet entitled ‘Straight Talking on Europe’.

He said: “The homosexual lobby wants to be accepted as a ‘valid alternative lifestyle’.

“I will argue homosexual behaviour is abnormal and undesirable.”

Asked on Tuesday if he stood by his comments, he replied: “Some people dislike it and this is a fact. Some people do all sorts of things, that doesn’t mean I commend them.”

Yesterday, Broadcaster Alice Arnold branded Mr Helmer a “homophobe” and an extremist.