Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa has been elected President of the United Nations General Assembly and claims he’s not “homophobic”.

Mr Kutesa was the unanimous choice of the presiding Africa block on Wednesday evening – despite a petition against his appointment signed by more than 13,000 people.

The senior politician has angered human rights campaigners over his views about homosexuality and his support for Uganda’s anti-gay legislation.

Earlier in the week, outgoing Labour MEP Michael Cashman called on the UK Government to block Mr Kutesa’s appointment.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr Kutesa denied accusations of homophobia and links to corruption in Uganda.

He said: “First of all let me tell you this, that I have had a conspiracy  by members of the opposition in our country, both inside and outside, who have tried their best to malign my name.

“I have never been found corrupt, I am not homophobic and I believe that I am the person to lead this organisation for the next session”.

The 65-year-old lawyer said he had “no problem” with gay people as long as they “respect the privacy.”

His UN position has largely a ceremonial role and lasts one year.

Mr Kutesa’s term as president starts in September.

A Ugandan law further criminalising same-sex sexual activity, allowing repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison, was given presidential approval in February.