Tory councillor ‘disturbed’ over Ian McKellen school visit cleared to become mayor

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A Tory councillor who said he was ‘disturbed’ that gay actor Sir Ian McKellen had been visiting schools is set to become Bristol’s next Lord Mayor.

In January Chris Windows was nominated by the Conservative party for the ceremonial post, which traditionally rotates between the parties, but his nomination was thrown into doubt after opposition from Green councillors.

However, the Bristol Post reports today that the path has been cleared for Windows to be appointed, as party leaders have agreed his nomination should go ahead.

After McKellen visited Bristol schools with Stonewall in 2010, Windows said at a council meeting: “I am unhappy and a little disturbed at the involvement of Stonewall with our local schools, and particularly the use of a certain leading actor as a potential role model for our impressionable young people.”

He was suspended by the party for the comments, but later had the whip re-instated.

Former Liberal Democrat Lord Mayor Peter Main, who is openly gay, told the newspaper: “Chris Windows doesn’t represent Bristol and does not represent what the city stands for. He won’t bring the city together. He will divide the city instead.”

Some Lib Dem and Green councillors are expected to vote against Windows, but as Labour councillors will not oppose his appointment, he will likely still become Lord Mayor.

Tory leader Peter Abraham said: “I am delighted that Chris has been nominated. I have every confidence that he will do an excellent job as Lord Mayor and serve the city proud.”