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Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 19:35 GMT 20:35 UK
Tories dispute 'gay sin' comments
Darren Millar
Darren Millar claims his comments were taken out of context
A row has blown up over alleged comments on homosexuality by a Conservative Welsh assembly candidate.

The Tories denied Labour claims that Clwyd West candidate Darren Millar told a meeting homosexuality was a "sin".

Both party leader David Cameron, on a visit to Wales to support the election campaign, and Mr Millar insisted he had said he was against all discrimination.

Tories said he had pointed out some religious texts called homosexuality a sin, like other things, such as gossip.

I made it clear last night that I do not believe that anybody should be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation
Darren Millar, Conservative candidate

The Tories said the comments, to a public meeting at the Awelon centre in Ruthin, Denbighshire, on Thursday night were taken out of context.

As Mr Cameron toured the Vale of Glamorgan on Friday, he said: "He's already clarified and made clear that we should not discriminate against people on the ground of their sexuality.

"That is the position of the Conservative Party, we're a party that doesn't believe in discrimination."

Clwyd West Labour candidate Alun Pugh said: "There was a sharp intake of breath around the hall as Mr Millar made his statements."

David Cameron at the Amelia Trust farm, Vale of Glamorgan
David Cameron at the Amelia Trust farm in the Vale of Glamorgan

Labour Welsh Secretary Peter Hain wrote to Mr Cameron urging him to "dump" Mr Millar.

"This is a real test as to whether your public relations respray job on the Tories means anything at all," wrote Mr Hain.

But Conservatives also denied Labour claims that Mr Millar told voters that creationism should be taught in science lessons in Wales. Again, the Tories said Mr Millar had been misquoted.

Officials said he had told the meeting that faith schools should have the flexibility to include creationism in the curriculum.

Mr Millar said: "I made it clear last night that I do not believe that anybody should be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, and it would be untrue to suggest that I said anything to the contrary.

"I did not say that creationism should be taught in all Welsh schools.

"However, I do fully support the rights of school governors, parents, and teachers, to have flexibility in their curriculum. This should be a matter for them and not for politicians.

"Alun Pugh is totally misrepresenting me on these subjects in an attempt to divert attention away from the key issues of health, education and community safety, on which Labour has failed the people of Clwyd West.

"This is a last-ditch, desperate attempt to save his seat in the assembly."

Clwyd West Lib Dem candidate Simon Croft could not remember exactly what Mr Millar had said.

Mr Croft said his recollection was that Mr Millar said that biblically homosexuality was not right, and that he was against it.

Plaid Cymru's candidate in Clwyd West, Phil Edwards, said he believed Darren Millar did say that homosexuality is a sin at the hustings.

But he could not recall a direct quote from the Conservative candidate.

He said Mr Millar had given a very long winded answer about what different religions believe.

Mike German, leader of the Lib Dems in the assembly, said: "It's not the kind of discussion we'd like to have in an election like this - when we want to be sure we're talking about tolerance in society and for people to be able to make their own ideas about their lives".

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd said such comments would not be "acceptable in a modern society" and urged the Tory leadership to distance themselves from them.

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