Ken Livingstone's Tory Party Comments Were Homophobic, Brian Paddick Says

Brian Paddick Ken Livingstone Homophobia

The Huffington Post UK   Dina Rickman First Posted: 9/02/2012 09:54 Updated: 9/02/2012 09:58

London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick has said Ken Livingstone's claim that the Tory party was "riddled" with homosexuals is "clearly homophobic."

“When he talks about homosexuality in the Conservative party as being 'riddled with it like everywhere else' his remarks are clearly homophobic," the Lib Dem candidate said.

“When the Daily Mail columnist Melanie Philips said similar things about me being promoted when I was a police officer, I sued her and won," he said.

Labour mayoral candidate Livingstone was quoted in this week's New Statesman as saying: “Well, the Labour ones have all come out... As soon as Blair got in, if you came out as lesbian or gay you immediately got a job. It was wonderful… you just knew the Tory party was riddled with it like everywhere else is.”

Paddick, who is gay, accused Livingstone of being a "political opportunist who likes to be controversial in order to draw attention to himself."

He added: "I think his true feelings towards LGBT people have seeped out."

Two London Conservative MPs, Angie Bray and Mike Freer, have written to Ed Miliband about the matter.

Bray said: "These are the sort of offensive remarks we hear all too often from Labour's candidate for mayor."

However a spokesperson for Livingstone said on Wednesday: “Ken is clearly saying the advance of lesbian and gay people into politics is unequivocally a good thing.

"Unlike many in the Conservative Party he has fought for equality for LGBT rights throughout his life including when it was highly controversial. He established Britain’s first civil partnership register, fought Clause 28 and backed LGBT Pride.

"Ken will reinstate London’s LGBT Pride annual reception at City Hall, put the Greater London Authority back into the Stonewall Employer’s Index and oppose government cuts to LGBT organisations.”

FOLLOW HUFFPOST UK POLITICS