A Conservative candidate for the Stevenage council elections has been suspended after he once called for “gays to face the death penalty”.
In a now-deleted 2005 blog post about homosexuality, Matthew Clarke cited death as the “one penalty in the Bible for such deeds” under the name Matthew Celestine, The Comet reported.
In 2016, Clarke wrote on Twitter that he never sent death threats to any gay person but admitted that “in the past I took the view that homosexuals should face the death penalty”.
After his previous comments were highlighted last week by a Labour activist, Clarke deleted his blog and social media accounts.
Although Clarke was set to contest a Stevenage Borough Council seat, Alexander Clarkson, the Stevenage Conservative Association chairman, revealed Clarke had been suspended and was no longer a candidate for the party.
An investigation is currently under way and although Clarke’s name will still appear on the ballot paper, if he wins the election he will not be joining the Conservative group on the council.
One of the Conservative candidates for #Stevenage is genuinely fascinating. He is called Matt so is one of these two fellas ...— Jo Phillips (@joglasg) April 16, 2018
He is a keen blogger and has an interesting blog on shoe etiquette.
He also has a number of evangelical blogs which .. erm .. pic.twitter.com/w9SBe8p6f2
Clarke said: “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.”
Clarke described himself as a “fundamentalist Christian” and an “orthodox Roman Catholic”.
His 2005 blog post – which was written on the same day same-sex civil partnerships became legal – read: “When such behaviour is tolerated in a land it can only expect to see God’s judgment.
“I really must hurry up with my PhD course and get out of here.
“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.
“If a man would do the awful things that homosexuals do, we can only expect that he would steal, take drugs or murder people.
“There is only one penalty in the Bible for such deeds. Death.”