Conservatives select gay candidate for Tower Hamlets mayor

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The Conservative party has selected an openly gay candidate to run for the Mayor of Tower Hamlets in east London.

The previous independent mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, was removed from office last month after being found guilty of election fraud and corruption.

Stickers were previously put up in the area declaring it a ‘gay free zone’ – and former Communities minister Eric Pickles warned last year that it was becoming a hotbed of extremism, anti-Semitism and homophobia.

Amid concerns about the future of the area, the Conservative party has selected an openly gay candidate to stand to replace Mr Rahman as mayor.

The party selected the Councillor Peter Golds – the leader of the Conservative group on Tower Hamlets council – to stand for the position.

Mr Golds, who alleges he “has been subject to numerous incidents of homophobia” from supporters of Mr Rahman, pledged to restore the image of the area if elected.

He said: “This election gives us the chance to sweep the deck clear in Tower Hamlets. My priority is to restore good governance to Tower Hamlets. I will restore the reputation of our great borough.

“We are a very important part of London. If I am chosen as Mayor there will be no cronyism, no back-room deals, every decision I make on behalf of residents will be made in an open and transparent way.

“Every penny we spend of our budget will be published and I will be completely accountable to you the people of this borough. I will run our council for the benefit of all residents regardless of race or religion.

“I will hold cabinet meetings all over the borough; I will urge the council to ensure that planning and licensing meetings are held near where their decisions affect residents the most.

“I will hold a monthly Mayor’s question time in a different location around the borough. My intention in this campaign is to speak to as many residents as possible.”

Other candidates include John Biggs of Labour, Andy Erlam of Red Flag Anti Corruption, and Rabina Khan, who is endorsed by Mr Rahman and formerly of Tower Hamlets First.

The election will take place on June 11.