Boris Johnson hits back at his critics

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Henley MP Boris Johnson, one of four contenders for the Conservative party nomination for Mayor of London, has responded to a document from a left-leaning organisation listing his previous comments on race, homosexuality and other issues.

In the 17-page document, entitled Boris Johnson: A Member of the Tory Right, Compass called the well-known politician “a type of Norman Tebbit in clown’s uniform”

They also said he is “by far the most right wing candidate ever to be presented by a major party for Mayor of London.”

Mr Johnson told

“This is a measure of the desperation of Ken and his cronies.

“They have gone through 20 years of articles in the hope of finding any phrase they can distort to the point of giving a completely false impression of what I believe.

“Londoners deserve a positive campaign and positive candidate. This shows exactly why we need a new approach to governing London.”

The Compass document highlighted a series of Mr Johnson’s opinions, expressed in his books and columns in the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator magazine, about gay issues, all of which were made before he became an MP in June 2001.

They quoted from Mr Johnson’s 2001 book, Friends, Voters, Countrymen:

“If gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue – then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or

indeed three men and a dog.”

Gavin Hayes, general secretary of Compass, told

“There is absolutely no doubt Boris Johnson’s views on gay equality are at best dodgy and at worst threaten to harm the progress made on gay rights and public attitudes in recent years.

“Furthermore he has stated amongst other things that the ‘metropolitan opinion was wrong footed on Section 28.’ Is this really the man who we want to represent a diverse city such as London? I think not.”

Three other Conservatives are running for their party’s nomination to stand against Ken Livingstone for Mayor of London in May 2008: Andrew Boff, a publisher from Hackney and Kensington Chelsea councillors Warwick Lightfoot and Victoria Borwick.

The Tories are selecting their candidate via an open primary, in which all Londoners on the electoral register can take part.

The selection process, by phone and ballot, closes on 26th September and the winner is expected to be announced at the Conservative party conference which is being held in Blackpool from Sunday 30th September to Wednesday 3rd October.

Click here to read the Boris report.