Norman Lamb is battling with Tim Farron for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats / PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

He said that having more visible LGBT characters in childrens' shows could help young people who are coming to terms with their sexuality

A candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats has said that children's shows like Peppa Pig should have more homosexual characters.

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk and contender in the Lib Dem leadership race, made the recommendation in an interview with PinkNews.

He said that TV companies should address the issue of few visible LGBT characters appearing in children's shows. Speaking about equality laws, he said: "The legislation very clearly says that a loving relationship between two people of the same sex is of equal value, so in everything that we then do, as a society, we need to reinforce that, not deny it."

When asked whether they should have gay characters on Peppa Pig, he said: "It should absolutely not be out of bounds, which it appears to be at the moment."

He added that a lack of LGBT characters in young people's programming might show young people coming to terms with their sexuality that there is "something not quite normal about how they feel".

He says this puts strain on these people "that we should not be prepared to tolerate."

Lamb was one of the few Liberal Democrat MPs to hold on to his seat in the General Election.

He beat Ann Steward, the Conservative candidate, with a majority of 4,043 votes, a reduction of his majority of over 11,000 votes against the Conservatives in the 2010 election.

He is battling against Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron for the leadership of his party, which is down to eight seats in Parliament.

Farron is currently favourite in the race according to a Survation/Mail on Sunday poll. The winner will be announced on 16 July.