A DUP politician said he would “rather walk up the Falls Road in a Rangers shirt” than take part in a Belfast Pride event.

The staunch Ulster Unionists were the only Northern Ireland political party not to take part in a debate on equal marriage on Monday evening, despite being invited.

The party, who agreed to a £1 billion trade-off to prop up Theresa May’s minority government in the Commons, have an old-fashioned approach to LGBT rights.

Ian Paisley Jr – currently suspended by the party – has previously called homosexuality “immoral, offensive and obnoxious” and said he was “repulsed” by gays and lesbians.

The party once championed a campaign called “Save Ulster from Sodomy”.

DUP politician Trevor Clarke last year said he thought only gay people could contract AIDS or HIV, while Jim Wells, the Member of Northern Ireland Assembly who told organisers he would rather walk up the predominantly Catholic Falls Road in a Rangers shirt, previously told a hustings in 2015: “The gay lobby is insatiable, they don’t know when enough is enough.”

He also said children who were raised in a homosexual relationship were more likely to be abused or neglected. He later apologised for the comments.

At the event on Monday, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald called for the British government to intervene and introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland if the Stormont deadlock cannot be broken.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK and Ireland which has not introduced equal marriage.

McDonald told the Pride Talkback event: “If it is the case that Westminster has to intervene then so be it.”