London Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis today made speech in the European Parliament criticising recent comments by the speaker of the Ugandan parliament on the country’s draconian anti-gay legislation and called on the EU to suspend its aid to Uganda if the bill becomes law.

Marina Yannakoudakis, who is Conservative spokesman on women’s rights in the European Parliament, condemned comments by Rebecca Kadaga in which she said that homosexuals pose a “serious threat” to Uganda’s children and promised that the law will be passed as “a Christmas gift.”

Marina said in her speech:

“This is a terrible present for the Ugandan people at a time when we should be celebrating peace and goodwill to all men and women.

“This law, if passed, will allow gays and lesbians to be sentenced to life in prison. I believe that this is a violation of human rights and that the EU must respond by immediately suspending its aid to Uganda.

“In 2010, the EU institutions gave 97 million euros to Uganda. 40% of all EU aid to the country is channelled through general budget support, which means that the money is paid directly to the Ugandan government.

“Prime Minister David Cameron has promised that UK aid will have more strings attached.

“The EU needs strings of its own to protect LGBT people in third countries who are under the threat of oppression.”

Marina supports greater conditionality for EU Aid, especially to countries with poor human rights records. She believes that suspending aid to countries which routinely prosecute and persecute gays would send out a powerful message. Marina revealed earlier this year through a parliamentary question that the EU gives over half a billion euros each year to countries with death penalty for gays (see press release here.)