Nigel Farage has defended UKIP MEP Roger Helmer’s anti-gay remarks, because “most” over-70s feel uncomfortable about gays.

Helmer, who is running for Parliament the Newark by-election this month, has previously said the public should be able to freely and openly dislike gay people, like they would different types of tea.

He has also said homosexuality is not a lifestyle worthy of respect, that the media are “obsessed” with sexuality, and that he’s not “the anti-gay MEP”.

Speaking today on the Sunday Politics, Farage said: “Roger Helmer is fighting this by-election for us; he’s somebody of 70 years of age who grew up with a strong Christian Bible background; he grew up in an age when homosexuality was actually imprisonable, and he had a certain set of views which he maintained for many years which he now says he accepts the world’s moved on and he’s relaxed about.

“As I say, when Roger grew up and, indeed, when he was an adult, homosexuality was illegal in this country, and he held that view for some period of time.

“And actually, if we asked the 70s and over in this country how they felt about it, most of them still feel uncomfortable.

“He has said the world has moved on, he now accepts there’s been a big social change in Britain and he’s relaxed about it.

“There are a lot of people in this country who are disconcerted by the change in the traditional meaning of marriage, and I think in a tolerant society we understand that some people have different views.”

A UKIP candidate in Northern Ireland, 38, recently claimed that the government have ‘no right’ to redefine marriage.

UKIP candidate Winston McKenzie, 60, recently said the party is not racist, but thinks gay adoption is “child abuse”.

Douglas Denny, 66, a UKIP candidate in Portsmouth, recently said gay sex is “disgusting” and gays are “abnormal”.