A TORY MSP has been accused of “homophobic dog whistling” following comments he made regarding plans to outlaw LGBT+ conversion practices.

Stephen Kerr, the MSP for the Central Scotland region and Tory MP candidate, came under fire on Twitter/X following the publication of a consultation for a ban on so-called “conversion therapies”.

Equalities Minister Emma Roddick launched the consultation earlier this week, which seeks to criminalise attempts to suppress or change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

READ MORE: What will a 'conversion therapy' ban in Scotland look like and who opposes it?

The plans saw an immediate push back from several religious organisations including the Catholic Church, Evangelical Alliance, and Free Church of Scotland, as well as gender-critical campaign groups.

Writing on Twitter/X on Thursday, Kerr prompted outrage after writing: “Message to the SNP/Green Scottish Government is simple: Leave Scotland's children alone.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie was one of many to criticise Kerr. He said: “Strong Section 28 energy. The Tory Party hasn't changed a bit.”

Blair Anderson, a Scottish Greens councillor in Glasgow who ran the campaign calling for a ban and has had personal experience of conversion practices, wrote: “Family members are one of the most likely perpetrators of conversion therapy.

“It’s a sad fact but sometimes children face harm from families and need help. Sometimes 'leaving children alone' means leaving children to face harm without protection.

“Nice homophobic undertones btw.”

The National:

Pollster Ballot Box Scotland also weighed in under Kerr’s post, adding: “I am personally begging you, as one of this country's elected representatives, not to do this kind of hateful dog whistling.

“You can oppose things like the proposed conversion therapy ban in ways that don't simply echo past deeply dangerous crusades against my community.”

Other social media users were quick to react to Kerr’s comments.

READ MORE: Popular Scottish Twitter account discusses 'rising tide' of LGBT+ abuse

One wrote: “When adults say ‘leave children alone’ they almost invariably mean – as Kerr does here – ‘leave children at the mercy of their abusers’.”

Another said: “Once again, children are people in their own right, not property of their parents or any other family members.”

One user added simply: “Take your dog whistles against my community back to the Stone Age.”

The National:

Another Twitter/X user asked: “How many Tory MSPs are going to come out in favour of the torture of queer people – queer children! – do we think?”

Despite the backlash, Kerr doubled down on his comments in response to Harvie.

“It's simple,” Kerr wrote hours later.

“Parents understand their children better than the state. Threatening parents – all parents – with jail if they do what they feel is best for their child? Leave Scotland's families alone.”

We told how LGBT campaigners are “confident” that the ban on conversion practices will withstand lobbying from right-wing religious groups and others who are opposed to it.