The vast majority of Londoners have said they would be happy with a gay mayor.
LBC Radio surveyed 1,100 adults and found that 71% would be comfortable if the next mayor was gay, compared to a mere 16% who stated they would be uncomfortable.
The two current favourites - Labour’s former Olympics minister Dame Tessa Jowell and Tory MP for Richmond Park Zac Goldsmith - are both heterosexual. However, Andrew Boff, an openly gay Conservative member of the London Assembly, made it onto the Tory shortlist, but the gay rights campaigner Ivan Massow failed to do so.
UKIP’s Richard Hendron, organiser of the party’s controversial Pride in London contingent, has also thrown his hat into the ring, according to PinkNews
. Mr Hendron, who stood for Parliament in Brentford and Isleworth in the recent General Election, is gay and has often criticised his party for their attitude towards LGBT issues.
While details of UKIP’s selection process for their mayoral candidate are yet to be announced, Hendron will face competition from Suzanne Evans - the party’s brief de facto leader in May - and possibly another gay politician, culture spokesman Peter Whittle.
UKIP didn’t fare too well in the last Mayoral race in 2012. The party’s candidate, Lawrence Webb, received a meagre 2% of the vote. Recent polls indicate Labour’s Dame Tessa is the current frontrunner, with 53% of Londoners stating they would prefer her to the Tory’s Zac Goldsmith.
Words by LOUIS SHANKAR.