Australian politician, who linked bestiality with equal marriage, to attend UK Conservative event

Australian Senator Cory Bernardi, who was sacked as an aide to the country’s opposition leader after linking equal marriage to bestiality, is due to attend a conference of young Conservatives in Oxford this weekend.

Cory Bernardi made the comments shortly before the country’s lawmakers overwhelmingly voted against supporting a marriage equality bill.

During a debate in Australia’s upper house on Tuesday night, Mr Bernardi queried the next step if same-sex marriage was legalised.

“Is having three people that love each other should [they] be able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society, or four people?” he told the chamber.

“There are even some creepy people out there, who say that it’s ok to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals. Will that be a future step?”

Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott promptly sacked Mr Bernardi as his personal parliamentary secretary on Wednesday.

According to the Huffington Post, Australian media reports that Mr Bernardi boarded a flight to Britain this morning in order to attend the European Young Conservative Freedom Summit in Oxford.

Gay Labour MP Ben Bradshaw told the Daily Mail: “It’s astonishing that a youth wing of the Conservative Party could invite someone who has compared same-sex marriage to bestiality to speak at one of their events.

“David Cameron should stop this appearance and make it clear that views like this have no place in his party.

Mr Bradshaw added: “It’s clear that while the Tories may pay lip-service to equality, too many of their supporters are prepared to endorse outrageous and offensive views like this.”

However, the Conservative Party sought to distance itself from Mr Bernardi this afternoon, pointing out that it had no say in who attended the summit.

“We haven’t organised this event, and are not in control of who attends,” the party said in a statement. “We strongly condemn Mr Bernardi’s comments, which do not reflect David Cameron’s or the Conservative Party’s viewpoint in any way.”

On Monday, it was announced that a rally by the Coalition for Marriage, the campaign group leading the opposition to equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in the UK, is to take place at next month’s Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe is expected to make a speech at the rally.