Ivan Massow: Was I rejected as a Tory candidate because I fought them on Section 28?

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Ivan Massow has questioned whether he failed to make the Tory short-list to run for Mayor of London because he fell out with the party over Section 28.

Mr Massow is an openly gay businessman who first rose to prominence in the 1990s, when he began offering financial services and insurance specially catered to gay people.

He had announced that he would seek the Conservative Party’s nomination to run for Mayor of London in 2016 – but this month failed to make the party’s shortlist.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Massow questioned whether he was blocked from running because he briefly defected to Labour in 2000, to argue for the repeal of the Conservative-backed ban on ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools.

He wrote: “It won’t come as a huge surprise to many that the Conservative selection committee decided not to allow me to run.

“I was hoping that the traction we’d gained, climbing to second place in most polls, would be persuasive. But it was not to be.”

“It’s hard to know whether my bust-up with the party over Section 28 almost 15 years ago played a part in their reckoning or if they just felt safer selecting known party insiders.”

However, he ruled out running as an independent, saying: “Either way, the Conservative Party remains my home and I don’t intend standing as an independent.”

He added: “Standing for office has been such a privilege; Incredibly hard work and nail-biting at times but wonderful to meet so many people dedicating their lives to making London a better place. I’ve accepted all sorts of patron roles around London and will be launching a new website dedicated to social mobility.

“I’m worried, not so much about the economic gap between the rich and the poor, but the opportunity gap.

“The best jobs from acting, through to politics, through the city, are going to kids from the ‘best families’. It’s depressing and I want to continue to play a role helping to find ways of giving people access to great jobs and experiences, regardless of their background/upbringing/school.”

Though Mr Massow did not make the shortlist, openly gay Member of the London Assembly Andrew Boff is still in the running.

However, Tory MP Zac Goldsmith is considered the clear front-runner.