Gay UKIP candidate Richard Hendron announces run for Mayor of London
An openly gay UKIP candidate has announced he plans to seek the party’s nomination to run for Mayor of London.
Richard Hendron, who organised the party’s controversial contingent at the Pride in London parade, confirmed to PinkNews that he will seek the party’s nomination to run for Mayor.
The UK Independence Party has not announced details of its selection process for Mayoral candidates – but Mr Hendron will face competition from Suzanne Evans – who was UKIP’s de facto leader for three days in May during Nigel Farage’s brief resignation.
A second gay UKIP politician, culture spokesman Peter Whittle, is also said to be in the running.
Mr Hendron, a barrister and former police officer, stood for Parliament in Brentford and Isleworth in May – and is not afraid to criticise his own party.
Speaking at UKIP conference last month, he warned that the party is perceived as “overflowing with homophobes, racist and bigots”, adding that Nigel Farage’s remarks about HIV during the election “did no one any favours”.
He said: “Why HIV was chosen by Nigel too target over say a less stigmatized condition such as cancer, remains to this day a mystery and beyond me; We must not defend the indefensible.”
Mr Hendron also led the contingent of UKIP members who marched in the Pride in London parade in June – despite being denied official permission by organisers on ‘safety’ grounds.
He told PinkNews @”We want to show that if there is any homophobia [in UKIP] it is dealt with and we are progressing.
“We are a party which believes in equality – we are a libertarian party – there are some people who are racist and homophobic, but unless we take part in things like [Pride], we aren’t going to change this.”
If selected as UKIP’s Mayoral candidate, Mr Hendron will face an uphill battle to gain traction in the race. Lawrence Webb, the party’s Mayoral candidate in 2012, garnered just 2% of the vote.
Mr Hendron told PinkNews his pledges will include plans to push for legislation to entirely ban tube strikes, to “abolish Police Community Support Officers and replace then with police officers”, and to “prevent developers from marketing properties overseas”.
A poll today found that a surprising amount of Londoners would be more than happy to see a gay mayor running the city.
Other out candidates include Andrew Boff – a Conservative member of the London Assembly, who has made the Tory shortlist.
UKIP has come under fire previously for plans to introduce a ‘conscience’ clause in anti-discrimination laws, as well as failing to challenge overt homophobia from some candidates.
PinkNews exposed a number of candidates expressing overtly homophobic views prior to May’s election, but the party failed to act in some cases. UKIP’s Alan Craig planned to attend a ‘gay cure’ conference – but the party claimed it was his freedom of speech to do so.
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