Brexit Secretary David Davis and Defense Secretary Michael Fallon have both declined to explicitly condemn a DUP MP who called gay people “repulsive”.
The Conservative Party failed to get an overall majority in last week’a General Election, and must now try to secure an agreement with another party in order to govern.
The Tories are currently in discussions with Northern Ireland’s ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party, which is strongly opposed to LGBT rights.
The DUP has stalled all progress on equal marriage in Northern Ireland, and previously supported the introduction of a ‘conscience clause’ to protect people who discriminate against LGBT people.
Several of the MPs that will now be relied on by the Tories have made actively homophobic comments. DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr has said: “I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong.”
Another, Sammy Wilson MP, has claimed that the government spends too much money fighting HIV, claiming AIDS is the result of gay “lifestyle choices”.
But Tory Brexit Secretary David Davis and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon have failed to condemn the views in successive media interviews.
Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show, Fallon dodged the question when asked if he, like Paisley Jr, was “repulsed” by gay people.
He said: “Well, let’s be very clear, just because they’re going to support us, they’re agreeing to support us on the economic issues, the big economic and security issues facing this country, it doesn’t mean that we now agree with all of their views. We don’t.”
We’re not in government with the DUP . We’re not in coalition with the DUP. They’re going to support us, as I said, on the crucial economic and security issues that face this country.
“We do not agree and we do not have to agree with any of their views on these social issues.”
In a separate appearance on Good Morning Britain, Davis was confronted with the same quote – and again declined to explicitly condemn it.
He said: “We don’t adopt their views, we don’t adopt their policies. It’s our duty to make it work… we have to do it whatever way we can.”
Asked if he would make assurances that there would be no deal on LGBT rights, Davis said: “Yes. Clearly. We’re the party that under David Cameron introduced gay marriage… a whole series of things we did.
“Turing’s law, the repeal of the convictions of people for homosexual acts, which were really silly but of a different era. Those things will stay on the statute book.
“What we have done, we will keep. The issue here is about delivering the substantive agenda we were elected on.”
Both Davis and Fallon have their own chequered pasts on LGBT rights.
Mr Davis voted against an equal age of consent, same-sex adoption, equal marriage, and the repeal of Section 28.
Sir Michael Fallon voted against an equal age of consent, same-sex adoption, equal marriage, and the repeal of Section 28.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who is a lesbian, has sought assurances from Theresa May over the deal with the DUP.