PinkNews.co.uk Exclusive

An openly gay Conservative has been elected as the chairman of the Greater London Assembly (GLA), the city wide government.

Brian Coleman, GLA member for Barnet and Camden has held this post once before.

Mr Coleman who is openly gay told PinkNews.co.uk “I’m looking forward to wearing the beautiful badge of office, complete with diamonds and drop pearl!” Adding with a chuckle: “I shall wear with it with my customary dignity- I’m not the sort of man who could get away with dressing up in drag.”

Commenting on the progress made by the Conservative party to secure more gay support, Mr Coleman claimed to have never found a problem with homophobia. “I never found it a major problems. If id have been a candidate with retired colonels and the like it might have been different, but being a candidate for north London has made it relatively easy.”

Claiming that the Conservative party enjoys the support of many across the gay community, he added: “If it wasn’t for gay men, the Tory party in London would collapse, but perhaps we’re all a little bit more open than a few years ago.”

Asked if he would consider running for the Conservative nomination for mayor of London, Mr Coleman told PinkNews.co.uk that the party required “an excellent candidate in 2008 to appeal for all of London, those in the suburbs and the young professionals who have begun to support us again.” He added that he would not consider running under a primary system.

Criticising the current mayor, Ken Livingstone, Mr Coleman said the mayor was wrong to invite the Islamic cleric Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi as a guest of honour to City Hall. “I didn’t understand what he was doing. Mr Livingstone was off his trolley-He was simply desperate to sure up the Muslim votes.”

Looking forward to Euro Pride, held in London later this year, the newly elected chairman of the London Assembly said: “I shall be there in camping it up in a dignified and London wide manner.”