Brian Coleman accuses fellow Conservative councillors of homophobia

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Conservative London Fire And Emergency Planning Authority chairman Brian Coleman has claimed that he has been passed over for a senior post due to homophobia by fellow Tories.

Mr Coleman, who is gay, claims that Local Government Association (LGA) Conservative group leader David Shakespeare promised to make him chair of the LGA fire services management committee, the Local Government Chronicle reports.

Mr Coleman, a Conservative London Assembly member and Barnet councillor, claims that he was then denied the post due to pressure on Mr Shakespeare by “bigoted” Tory councillors.

He said: “David Shakespeare said the job was mine but went back on his word after lobbying by a group of homophobic, bigoted old farts.”

After Mr Shakespeare appointed Anthony Duggan, Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue service chairman to the post in question, Mr Coleman wrote Mr Shakespeare a letter accusing him of bowing to anti-gay pressure.

“I have no doubt that the objection to my appointment… is not unrelated to the strong stance on equality issues and modernisation which I have taken,” Mr Coleman wrote.

Mr Shakespeare was unavailable for comment, but a senior Tory councillor said:

“Brian was very upset because he thought he was going to get the job and he does have a habit of firing from all cylinders.

“But, if there is any homophobia in the [Conservative] party, I am unaware of it.”

Mr Coleman is one of a string of gay men occupying important positions in the new Boris Johnson administration.

He sparked controversy last year when he claimed that former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath was warned to stop having sex with men in public.