London: Police treating anti-gay posters against ex-councillor as hate crime

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Police are treating the circulation of homophobic posters against a gay former east London councillor as a hate crime, with two more posters appearing.

Former Liberal Democrat councillor Nigel McCollum was told on Thursday by police that two new posters had been found near his home.

The posters feature a recent photograph of Mr McCollum and listed his contact details.

They first began appearing last week, following Mr McCollum’s attendance at a council meeting in Tower Hamlets on Wednesday 27 November.

Mr McCollum had spoken about a £1.6 million package of improvements for the borough’s Roman Road.

Local politicians including the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, Labour Councillor Sirajul Islam and Lib Dem Councillor Stephanie Eaton, have condemned the posters.

Mr Rahman said it amounted to a “serious homophobic attack” on Mr McCollum.

On Thursday, Mr McCollum said: “I’m really upset about the whole thing.

“This abuse has not reared its head for seven years, and then when I go to council to represent a disabled resident, within hours this happens.”

According to the Hackney Gazette, Mr McCollum was a councillor from 2002 to 2006 and received similar homophobic hate mail.

Councillor Stephanie Eaton said: “To post anonymous homophobic attacks about a resident and former councillor simply because he has raised legitimate questions about public spending is cowardly and unacceptable.

“It is an attack on all people involved in local politics, and one which has the potential to deter LGBT people from public service.”

Anyone with information should call the Community Safety Unit at Limehouse Police Station on 020 7275 4758 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.