MP invites boxer Tyson Fury to tea at Commons to talk about his views on homosexuality
Shadow leader of the Commons Chris Bryant has urged new heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury to "get in touch" and come to tea at the House of Commons, so the pair can talk about his "issues".
Labour MP Mr Bryant argued Fury, who defeated Wladimir Klitschko to win his world titles last Saturday, was not an appropriate person to be nominated for the the BBC's Sports Personality Of The Year (SPOTY) shortlist.
An online petition set up by LGBT campaigner Scott Cuthbertson has already collected more than 63,000 signatures demanding that he is removed from the list over his outspoken comments about homosexuality.
Mr Bryant told Sky News' Murnaghan programme: "In part, I'm joking obviously about going head to head with him, but again I think in politics it is possible to change people's minds."
Asked if he was an appropriate person to be nominated for BBC SPOTY, Mr Bryant said: "No I don't. In the end it's not for me to tell the BBC what to do with their programme or for that matter Sky."
He claimed: "My real problem is that Tyson has equated homosexuality with paedophilia and actually that is a very dangerous equation to make because it means that we don't take child abuse seriously."
Mr Bryant said the vast majority of child abuse happened within the family and was heterosexual, adding there were millions of gay and lesbian couples "the whole world over who would never touch a child except to prevent harm to them" and there were thousands of others who had provided a loving, caring and gentle home to children.
He added: "So there is something deeply offensive about what he said, but it's not the offence that I care about, it's the fact that it means that we end up not taking child abuse seriously."
Mr Bryant raised the issue in Parliament on Thursday, stating: ''I gather Mr Fury has subsequently said that some of his best friends are gay,'' adding. ''So can I suggest that we invite him to Parliament some time in the near future because frankly I am quite happy to go head to head with him.''
Asked about his response on Murnaghan, Mr Bryant said: "He's not replied. Mr Fury, Mr Fury, I don't know which camera, Mr Fury please get in touch come to tea at the House of Commons and we can talk about your issues."
Belfast Telegraph Digital