Gay mayoral candidate may get help from David Furnish

Former senior police officer Brian Paddick, who is widely expected to win the Liberal Democrat nomination for Mayor of London, may receive fundraising help from a well-known celebrity.

The Independent reports that the partner of singer Sir Elton John, David Furnish, is keen to help Mr Paddick, who is gay, raise campaign funds ahead of the mayoral elections in May 2008.

The results of a ballot of Lib Dem members in London to choose their candidate will be announced next month.

Barrister Chamali Fernando and local councillor Fiyaz Mughal are also running for the nomination.

Mr Paddick, who has never held elected office, will face Labour’s Ken Livingstone, who has been Mayor of London since 2000, and Tory candidate Boris Johnson, currently the MP for Henley.

The Independent reports that Lib Dem fundraising staff are: “confident that Furnish will be of assistance.”

Mr Paddick was a guest at Sir Elton and Mr Furnish’s civil partnership ceremony in 2005 and has raised funds for the Elton John Aids Foundation.

If he wins the Liberal Democrat nomination he will become the first openly gay candidate for Mayor of London since Darren Johnson ran for the Green party.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Paddick was the UK’s most senior gay police officer until he left the Metropolitan police force at the end of May.

He came to public prominence as borough commander of Lambeth, when his policy of targeting resources at class A drug dealers and taking a more relaxed approach to cannabis use caused right-wing outrage.

The policy was popular with locals, and his direct style of policing helped to foster a trust and respect with many who viewed the police with suspicion.

In June he signed a six-figure deal with publisher Simon Schuster to write his story about life at the highest levels of the Met.

A spokesman for the publisher said:

“Brian has left the force and has no restraint on what he can say apart from the libel laws. He’ll say exactly what he thinks about how the Met is run.”

Mr Paddick clashed with his boss, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, over when the Met knew that they had shot an innocent man at Stockwell tube station on July 22nd 2005.

Sir Ian insists that he did not know Brazilian Jean Charles De Menezes was not a suicide bomber until the next day.

Mr Paddick gave evidence to an independent investigation that suspicions were raised almost immediately.