The Prime Minister of Malta has made scathing comments about the idea that homosexuality can be “cured”.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the idea that sexual orientation can be altered by medication or therapy is an idea from the “dark ages”.

Speaking to Labour supporters, Muscat discussed a bill to outlaw gay ‘conversion’ therapy, and said that it “had nothing to do with prayers”, but rather wanted to cement that sexual orientation is not a condition to be “cured”.

The Queen And Senior Royals Attend The Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting - Day Two

A story of controversy ensued after the Church issued a paper claiming the Bill would “make it a crime to assist paedophiles whose condition is manifested in same-sex behaviour”.

Muscat pointed to Pope Francis, who last week said despite the Catholic Church’s long standing ban on condoms, came out to say they could be used to stem the spread of the Zika virus.

Muscat said: “Then you turn to Malta and find homosexuality being treated as a condition. I will defend the Church’s right to express its position; but I’m also free to say that this government will keep moving forward with its plans.

“We strongly believe in the progress we are making … it’s not a question of imitating other countries but because I will never accept a mentality that harms gay people.”

The PM vowed that his Labour party would remain committed to helping people live without feeling inferior.

The Government also has plans to launch a consultation on a cohabitation bill which had previously been shelved several times.

It would recognise couples who choose not to get married.