Tories send senior gay MP to Poland

By staff

The most senior gay member of the shadow Cabinet will visit the Tories’ European partners to push for homosexual equality.

Shadow environment secretary Nick Herbert will attend a gay rights march in Warsaw in July and also talk to politicians from the ruling Law and Justice party, which has been criticised for homophobia.

The party, founded by recently deceased president Lech Kaczynski, is one of the Tories’ allies in the European Conservatives and reformists group in Brussels.

When he was Warsaw mayor, Mr Kaczynski banned gay rights marches in the city.

Ahead of today’s foreign affairs leaders’ debate, the Conservatives have been criticised for leaving the European Peoples’ party group for its new alliance, which includes Latvia’s Fatherland and Freedom party, whose members have been known to celebrate the Latvian Waffen SS.

David Cameron said: “We would not join with parties that had unacceptable views. But we do recognise that, particularly in central and eastern Europe, there are parties that have still got some way to go on the journey of recognising full rights for gay people. We are helping them make that journey.”

Mr Cameron also criticised his opponents, saying partners of the Lib Dems called homosexuality ‘a plague’ and partners of Labour were collaborators with the communist regime in Poland.

“Our point is that it is good to have a new group that is against a federal Europe; that wants free trade, co-operation and progress in Europe. And yes, some countries, particularly some of the Catholic countries, do have very conservative social views. They are on a journey in respect of that and it is a journey we can help them with.”

The news comes as Conservative frontbencher Julian Lewis has been criticised for saying male homosexuality carries an increased risk of Aids.