Left-wing group attack Boris Johnson’s gay views

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

He may not even be the Tory candidate for London Mayor yet, but frontrunner Boris Johnson is already the subject of a 17-page pamphlet from a left-leaning thinktank outlining his previous contentious statements on a range on issues.

The Conservative party 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 Tory candidate will be announced soon after.

Compass, an organisation that promotes “democratic left” ideas, has attacked Mr Johnson’s published views on race, homosexuality, women, the national minimum wage and education.

Their document highlights a series of Mr Johnson’s opinions expressed in his books and his 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.

In April 2000 he attacked, “Labour’s appalling agenda, encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools, and all the rest of it,” a theme he returned to on several occasions.

He expressed support for Section 28, which outlawed the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools.

Perhaps his most insulting comments were made in his book, Friends, Voters, Countrymen, published in 2001.

“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,” he wrote.

Gavin Hayes, general secretary of Compass, told PinkNews.co.uk:

“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.”

The Conservative government introduced Section 28 in 1988. It was repealed by the Labour government in 2000 in Scotland and 2003 in England and Wales.

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 contest to find a candidate who can beat incumbent Ken Livingstone has been beset by bad luck and negative publicity.

Last year Tory leader David Cameron extended the deadline for selecting the party’s candidate in order to attract a ‘name’ that London voters would recognise.

A very public attempt to persuade Labour supporter and former director-general of the BBC Greg Dyke to run on a joint Tory/Lib Dem ticket ended in failure.

Other names, from former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens to former Prime Minister John Major, have all been mentioned but no-one seems keen to try to take on the incumbent.

Click here to read the Boris report.