Search icon


27th Apr 2018

Tory candidate suspended for saying gay people should face the death penalty

'I never sent death threats. In the past I took the view that homosexuals should face the death penalty'

Oli Dugmore

A Conservative local election candidate who said gay people should face capital punishment has been suspended

Matthew Clarke said death was “one penalty in the Bible” for homosexuality in a 2005 blog post which has since been deleted.

In 2016 he tried to defend his position tweeting: “I never sent death threats. In the past I took the view that homosexuals should face the death penalty.”

Writing under the pseudonym Matthew Celestine, he also wrote:

In my experience, most people believe that such behaviour is wrong and disgusting.

They would be ashamed for their children to behave in that way, but they would never admit it for fear of being accused of bigotry.

Why should we tolerate such behaviour? If these people think that what they do is decent and good, they are either insane or utterly corrupt morally.

The remarks were discovered by Labour activist Jo Philips.

Clarke was contesting the Manor ward for a seat on Stevenage Council which is currently held by the Lib Dems. He has now been suspended. A Conservative party spokesperson said: “Matthew Clarke has been suspended. An investigation is underway.”

The former candidate has apologised, telling The Comet: “I would like to express deep regret for the offensive comments I made 13 years ago.

“I offer my unreserved apologies for any hurt caused by that blog post and I would like to stress that I have moved on and am no longer the angry and bitter person that I was in 2005.”

The suspension coming a week before the local elections means it is too late to remove Clarke’s name from the ballot but, if elected, he would not be a Conservative councillor or join their group on the council.