A Conservative Bromley councillor who said LGBT relationship education may be "encouraging children" into a "new trend" has been criticised for homophobia.

Cllr Michael Tickner, who is also chair of the standards committee, made the remarks in a full council meeting, responding to a motion calling for the director of education to write to schools in the borough confirming the Council's support for the delivery of compulsory LGBT+ relationships and sex education.

Claiming to be speaking on behalf of parents with "legitimate concerns", Cllr Tickner said: "There is a big difference between, on the one hand, accepting and respecting LGBT+ choices and equality, and, on the other hand, positively encouraging children into such a lifestyle as a new trend."

Ben McGowan, 17, who attended the meeting, said: "I think his views are repugnant, backwards, archaic, and they make every LGBT person in Bromley feel like second class citizens.

"First of all, there is the insinuation that being gay is a choice, and second he says that we cant positively encourage people to embrace their identity.

"Those were the rules under thatcher in the 90s, that you can only can talk about being gay in a negative way.

"He is unfit for public service. It was completely disgraceful from someone representing constituents.

"The role is to represent your community; if you have discriminatory views, you can't."

The motion was proposed by Labour Councillor Simon Jeal, who came out as bisexual during his supporting speech.

A Conservative amendment to the motion was passed, clarifying that while the Council supports government policy, it "also recognises the continued right of parents to withdraw their child from the sex education element."

Cllr Jeal, who represents Penge & Cator, said: "I was disappointed and sad to hear a councillor expressing such incorrect and problematic views.

"I was grateful for the supportive comments from other Conservative councillors, but he showed there is still a real need to keep working towards LGBT+ equality in Bromley, to ensure attitudes like Cllr Tickner’s don’t continue to harm the wellbeing of young people in the borough.

"Unfortunately, the Conservative group chose to play politics with the motion, amending it to add unnecessary partisan language and watering down the support."

Responding to the criticisms, Cllr Tickner said: "I think many parents are concerned about over exposure of children to relationship and sexual education at school when they are still too young and innocent to need to worry about it.

"Some activists get very sensitive if they can't have it all their own way.

"However many families and parents have concerns about the LGBT+ curriculum.

"How will it be taught? By which teachers? At what age will children have this subject at school? Will parents be forewarned and given the opportunity to withdraw their children?

"This is nothing to do with the many thousands of LGBT+ residents living happily in the Borough of Bromley, Conservative and Labour Councillors amongst them.

"It is about striking a balance on what should happen in our schools and respecting each others' views."

By law, relationships and health must be taught at primary schools from next year.

Secondary lessons are expected to include LGBT content, while primary schools are encouraged to.