Livingstone under fire for saying Tories 'riddled' with closet gays
Labour's candidate for London mayor was accused of being gay friendly only as a political ploy
Ken Livingstone, Labour's candidate for the London mayoralty this year, provoked a storm of criticism yesterday for describing the Conservative Party as "riddled" with closet gays.
He also implied that after 1997, Labour MPs who came out as gay had automatically qualified for promotion.
He made the gaffes while answering questions about the extent to which politicians are entitled to privacy. He told the New Statesman magazine that the public "should be allowed to know everything, except the nature of private relationships – unless there is hypocrisy, like some Tory MP denouncing homosexuality while they are indulging in it."
Asked by the interviewer, Jemima Khan, why he singled out Tory MPs in that remark, Mr Livingstone claimed that "the Labour ones have all come out". He added: "As soon as Blair got in, if you came out as lesbian or gay you immediately got a job. It was wonderful... [and] you just knew the Tory party was riddled with it like everywhere else is."
Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor, who is gay, told Sky News that Mr Livingstone "appears to be gay-friendly as a political ploy [as leader of the Greater London Council in the 1980s, he openly supporting gay rights] but in unguarded moments his true views come out."
And two London Conservative MPs, Angie Bray and Mike Freer, wrote to the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, demanding that he order Mr Livingstone to retract the remarks. Ms Bray said: "These are the sorts of offensive remarks we hear all too often from Labour's mayoral candidate. Ed Miliband should condemn these outrageous comments and get him to apologise immediately."
A spokesman for Ken Livingstone said: "Ken is clearly saying the advance of lesbian and gay people into politics is unequivocally a good thing.
"He has fought for equality for gay and lesbian people throughout his life, and the fact they are represented in all major political parties is a sign of the progress that has been made."
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
Ten best places to live in the UK: Hart in Hampshire takes top spot
Winter Solstice marks shortest day of the year
Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Year 6 Teacher - Gilli...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Teacher of English - S...
£59999 - £80001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A Top 10 firm in ...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...