Speaker attacks homophobic countries in the Commonwealth

On the eve of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has called for an end to the "shameful" criminalisation of homosexuality in four out of five Commonwealth countries.

"Shamefully, it is estimated that four out of every five countries in the Commonwealth criminalise homosexuality," he said. "Surely, it is time for the Commonwealth to do more to support lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual people, to ensure they are not discriminated against, no matter where they live?"

Homosexuality is criminalised in 42 of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

Human right scampaigner Peter Tatchell also urged Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to "appeal to all participating countries to adhere to Article 7 of the Commonwealth Games Federation constitution, which prohibits all discrimination.

"Countries that refuse to support Article 7 — or that perpetuate discrimination in access to sports facilities, training camps or team selection — should be barred from participating in the Commonwealth Games. If they are not prepared to abide by Article 7 they have no right to come to Glasgow or future Commonwealth Games.

"The intensity of homophobia in these countries is so great that it is very unlikely that they would select a LGBTI athlete to compete in Glasgow.

"I can't imagine homophobic states like Uganda, Brunei or Nigeria selecting a LGBTI athlete. They are more likely to jail them than send them to Glasgow."