Canada: Anti-gay Toronto mayor Rob Ford drops re-election bid

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Toronto’s anti-gay mayor Rob Ford has dropped his re-election bid after being hospitalised with a tumour.

Mayor Rob Ford returned in June from a two-month stint in rehab, following revelations that he had been caught smoking crack cocaine, drink-driving and injecting heroin during his term of office.

In his first week back at work, he refused to join a standing ovation to praise the organisers of WorldPride Toronto, and voted against a council proposal to help homeless LGBT teens.

He later denied his decisions were homophobic, saying: “I’m a spendaphobe, that’s what I am. Let’s talk about how much money I’ve saved the taxpayers.”

Mr Ford had refused to stand down or drop his re-election bid over the scandals.

However, after being admitted to hospital on Wednesday with stomach pain, the Mayor was diagnosed with an abdominal tumour, and is expected to stay in hospital “for about a week”.

He has now announced that he will bow out of the race for Mayor, and will instead stand as a candidate for city councillor.

Officials confirmed that his name was removed from the ballot just ahead of the closing deadline today.

Former MP Olivia Chow and Conservative businessman John Tory are now the front-runners in the race.

More to follow.