A Conservative candidate in a marginal seat was responsible for the publication of a homophobic cartoon that suggested Professor Dumbledore was a paedophile because he was gay, The Independent can reveal.
Mario Creatura, who is hoping to regain the Croydon Central constituency from Labour, was in charge of a student magazine when it published the controversial image.
Mr Creatura was publications editor of the students union at Royal Holloway University when the union's magazine, The Orbital, published a cartoon that was condemned as homophobic.
The cartoon was headlined "Harry Poofter and the gay Prof Dumbledore".
It was printed with the caption: "Professor Paedo: Do Harry, Ron and Hermione have more to worry about than just Voldemort?".
The decision to publish it sparked a furious backlash, with members of the LGBT students group at Royal Holloway tabling a motion of censure against Mr Creatura and another union officer.
The row forced the resignation of the magazine's deputy editor, who was alleged to have written the contentious captions.
However, despite having ultimate responsibility for the magazine in his role as publications editor, Mr Creatura is understood not to have stepped down.
Labour said the cartoon, published in 2008, was evidence of "deep prejudice" in the Tory party.
Naz Shah, the party's Shadow Women and Equalities minister, said: "Mario Creatura publishing this appalling, extremely homophobic content provides further evidence of the deep prejudice that runs through the Conservative Party.
"This is no surprise when its own leader Boris Johnson has compared gay marriage to marrying a dog, called gay men ‘tank topped bum boys’, opposed ‘gays in the military’ and opposed Labour's plans to introduce LGBT+ education in schools. Mario Creatura is clearly not fit to be an MP."
Croydon Central was held by the Tories until 2017, when it was captured by Labour's Sarah Jones by a margin of 5,652 votes.
Mr Creatura is a Croydon councillor and worked as a No10 special adviser for Theresa May in No10. He now works as the head of digital communications for Virgin Money.
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