Updated: Tory candidate suspended for saying gays were ‘not normal’
A Scottish Conservative Party candidate has been suspended from his party for saying that homosexuality is “not normal”.
As PinkNews.co.uk exclusively reported this morning, Philip Lardner, the candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran, stated in a section on his campaign website that he would support parents and teachers who do not want children to be taught about gay equality.
He added that “most” people agree that homosexuality is wrong.
This afternoon, the Conservative Party distanced itself from his remarks and a spokeswoman said: “These views are not those of the Conservative Party and we do not condone them.”
He has now been suspended.
The chairman of the Conservative Party in Scotland, Andrew Fulton, said: “The views expressed by Philip Lardner, the candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran, are deeply offensive and unacceptable and as a result he has been suspended as a member of the Conservative Party.
“We therefore do not support Mr Lardner’s candidacy in the North Ayrshire and Arran constituency. These views have no place in the modern Conservative party.”
Mr Lardner, a primary school teacher, was not available for comment.
Gay Europe minister Chris Bryant called for Tory leader David Cameron to take action against him earlier today.
He told PinkNews.co.uk: “This really is a case of Walking with Dinosaurs. What world is this man living on? You can’t promote homosexuality like a brand of washing powder.
“This candidate should be removed from his party. But if previous occasions are anything to go on it seems David Cameron would rather tolerate homophobia in his own ranks.”
In the section, which was removed from the website this afternoon, Mr Lardner said: “I will always support the rights of homosexuals to be treated within concepts of (common-sense) equality and respect, and defend their rights to choose to live the way they want in private, but I will not accept that their behaviour is ‘normal’ or encourage children to indulge in it.
“The promotion of homosexuality by public bodies (as per ‘clause 28′/section 2a in Scotland,) was correctly outlawed by Mrs Thatcher’s government. Toleration and understanding is one thing, but state-promotion of homosexuality is quite another.
“Why should Christian churches be forced by the government to employ homosexuals as ‘ministers’ against all that the Bible teaches? They are being forced by the government to betray their mission – would the Equality and Human Rights Commission be fined for refusing a job to Nick Griffin?
“Christians (and most of the population) believe homosexuality to be somewhere between ‘unfortunate’ and simply ‘wrong’ and they should not be penalised for politely saying so – good manners count too, of course.
“The current ‘law’ is wrong and must be overturned in the interests of freedom as well as Christian values.”
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Mr Lardner was criticised in 2008 for calling the racist former leader of Rhodesia Ian Smith his hero.
He also defended Enoch Powell, saying that “in a small way “, the former Tory shadow minister had been right on immigration. Powell was sacked from the shadow cabinet in 1968 for his infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech.
In the last month, Conservative Party leader David Cameron has been criticised by Labour for “failing” to take action against members of his party who have been accused of making anti-gay statements.
Last month, shadow home secretary Chris Grayling was recorded saying he agreed bed and breakfast owners should have the right to bar gay couples if they wish.
He later apologised and said he believed it would be “wrong” for gay couples to be turned away from businesses.
Meanwhile, Julian Lewis, the incumbent MP for New Forest East and shadow defence minister, told a constituent that he was against equalising the age of consent for gay men as he believes gay sex carries a high risk of AIDS.
In an interview with the Observer last weekend, Mr Cameron would not say whether Mr Grayling would become home secretary if his party wins power.