Senior Tories speak at events by group which asks if gay marriage caused earthquakes

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A group of Tories have been criticised for speaking at a right-wing fringe group which has questioned whether same-sex marriage causes earthquakes.

An event held by the London Swinton Circle has been attended by former Tory cabinet ministers Dr Liam Fox and Owen Paterson, and Christopher Chope, the MP for Christchurch was said to have attended a discussion held by the group last month.

The Circle, set up over 50-years ago is a right-wing pressure group claiming to uphold “traditional conservative and Unionist principles.”

A spring newsletter sent by the London Swinton Circle in May asked the question: “The current government in New Zealand oversaw the introduction of ‘Gay Marriage’ last year. Was the recent destruction of Wellington by earthquake a warning?”

The newsletter has discussed same-sex marriage and suggested mass deportations “from Britain to say some part of Africa.”

Speaking today in the House of Commons, Labour MP Sheila Gilmore called on the Tories to explain why members are allowed to associate themselves with such a controversial group.

She said: “These Conservative MPs must immediately explain their actions and their associations with this group and the Conservative Party should explain why it is content for this association to continue.”

Dr Liam Fox’s office told the Guardian: “Dr Fox was not aware of any of the views that you mention. He accepts a wide range of speaking engagements and is willing to make the Conservative case to many different groups who may not agree with Conservative policy. This is part of the democratic process.”