Tory minister Alan Duncan: Anti-gay laws are a problem in ‘primitive cultures’

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

International Development Minister Alan Duncan has rejected calls to cut foreign aid to countries with anti-gay laws.

The gay Conservative MP told The Huffington Post that the UK was “increasingly vociferous” in campaigning against homophobia on the global stage, particularly in Africa.

“We will lobby and make our views clear in the same way we campaign vigorously against the use of the death penalty,” Mr Duncan said.

“Some countries are going backwards [on LGBT rights] and the use of gay hate as a vulgar form of nationalism is contemptible in my view, the trouble is some of the countries where this is happening are very poor. And often we have to look at such countries and say, I don’t like the law, but we’ll still help the poor.”

Asked whether he though there were religious motivations behind some of the anti-gay laws in Africa and elsewhere, Mr Duncan replied: “All over the world there is often a collision between gay rights and religious fundamentalism, if you want to call it that. And that collision is difficult to resolve, particularly in more primitive cultures. And it will take time.”

The MP added it was “gruelling indeed” to have to watch the treatment of gay people under homophobic oppression.

But he warned: “We can’t hurt the poor by using the withdrawal as a weapon against poor governments we don’t like”.

Earlier this month, Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire ruled out imposing a travel ban on Uganda’s politicians who support the country’s anti-gay legislation.

The UK Government has said that none of its aid goes directly to the Ugandan Government.

The President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni gave assent to a law further criminalising same-sex sexual activity in February.

The World Bank, along with Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, all halted aid to the Ugandan Government as a result of the decision of President Museveni.

America threatened to reduce the amount of aid going to Ugandan organisations who have expressed support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act.