The new Tory Culture Secretary Sajid Javid is reported to have blocked colleagues in the Liberal Democrat party from signing an EU declaration against homophobia. He also prevented Lib Dem equalities minister Jenny Willott from attending the human rights summit in Malta, according to the Pink Paper.

Willott had been due to sign a Europe-wide declaration aiming to stamp out discrimination against gay and transgender people, but was told she was not allowed to by Javid, whose Conservative Party is worried about losing votes from its traditional supporters following the enactment of equal marriage legislation.

The declaration, drafted in part by British civil servants, was signed by 11 other EU countries, but not the UK.

A senior Whitehall source told The Sunday Times, ‘The Conservatives have made clear that something that involves gay rights and Europe is not something that they are touching with a barge pole.

‘They are terrified of upsetting a hard core of the Tory party.’

Last year Javid’s predecessor Maria Miller, who resigned last month following an expenses scandal, blocked the former Lib Dem equalities minister Jo Swinson from attending the same summit.