Councillor makes ‘humiliating’ apology after gay outburst

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A Brighton and Hove Conservative councillor has apologised today for making allegedly homophobic and offensive comments towards the lesbian. gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Peter Willows a Hangleton and Knoll ward councillor, faced expulsion from the Tory Party over remarks labelling gay people as paedophiles, which he was reported to have made at an annual Brighton and Hove City Council party last week.

Also this week, he wrote a letter to the Argus stating his opposition to flying the rainbow flag on the International Day Against Homophobia day because, “a flag should be for every person in that particular country to be proud and highly honoured of that flag. Why should any country have to fly a flag because of men sleeping together to have sex.

“And also women sleeping together to have sex. In my world that does not justify flying any flag. It’s an unnatural act, men or women.”

Mr Willows released a statement after a meeting with the local Brighton and Hove Conservative Party group leader, Brian Oxley, last night, it said: “I recognise that the comments I have expressed in a recent letter to the Brighton Argus, about flying the rainbow flag on a civic building, have caused serious offence to the LGBT community and I wholeheartedly retract them and apologise for them.

“If other comments I have made, at a recent civic event, were taken to mean that I equate paedophiles and gay people, that was not my intention nor my belief and again I apologise.

“I believe LGBT people contribute positively to our society in Brighton and Hove and in the wider world. As a Ward Councillor, I have helped people from all walks of life irrespective of their background.

Political analysts told that his apology must have been a “humiliating climb down” for someone who has been known to criticise the gay community in the past and shows the pressure to conform to Tory leader David Cameron’s vision of compassionate Conservativism.