Local Labour group accused of “using homophobia to win votes”

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PinkNews.co.uk Exclusive

Tension is mounting in the upcoming local elections, particularly in Lambeth where a conflict has arisen between the local Labour group and the ruling Liberal Democrats.

Lambeth Labour posted an article written by the South London Press on their website last month which claimed gay Lib Dem councillor Charles Anglin was posting naked pictures of himself on the internet.

The front page story of an edition of the South London Press last month claimed the openly gay councillor posted nude images and recounted sexual wrestling fantasies on the Gaydar internet site.

Extracts from the article were then used on the Labour Group’s website.

Councillor Anglin told PinkNews.co.uk: “Any mainstream party seeking to profit from that kind of attitude is despicable.

“The article is sneeringly homophobic and deeply hypocritical. It is a disgrace that any mainstream political party would seek to create the kind of atmosphere and attitude that bigots have always used to justify their homophobia.

He accused the group of using homophobia to win votes.

The leader of Lambeth Council, Liberal Democrat, Peter Truesdale, said: “Labour are fighting the dirtiest most personal campaign in Lambeth history.

“It is entirely inappropriate, local reaction has been to back Charles and back Labour.”

Alan Wardle from gay charity Stonewall said: “Stonewall deplore use by any party of someone’s sexuality as a campaigning trick.

“It should be about how good they are at the job, not what they do in their private life.”

But Lambeth Labour leader Steve Reed told PinkNews.co.uk there is no question of their article being homophobic, he said: “We took out everything relating to sexuality and didn’t mention the website it was on.

“The article just questioned the wisdom of councillor posting naked pictures of himself on a website.”

“We refute implications that this is homophobic, there are a number of openly gay Labour councillors and candidates in Lambeth and we do a lot of work for LGBT rights.

He said the article was taken down after claims by Cllr Anglin that they were being homophobic.

Local elections are being held on Thursday 4th May 2006.