London could be getting its first gay mayor after Nick Boles director of Conservative aligned think tank Policy Exchange today confirmed that he will apply for the Tory’s open primary to be held later this year.
Mr Boles, this morning confirmed the rumours which were published recently on PinkNews.co.uk, and other political blogs, that he would put forward an application to stand for London Mayor in 2008.
He said in a statement to ConservativeHome, “Lots of people have encouraged me to stand for the nomination as the Conservative Party’s candidate for Mayor. People from right across the London party. And people who have never voted Conservative in their lives.
“I’m very attracted by the idea of running for Mayor. It would be an opportunity to present a new face of Conservatism to the capital. I love London and believe it needs to be led by someone who unifies people and makes things work – neither of which can be said of Mr Livingstone.
“So I can confirm that I will be submitting an application before the deadline on 4th August. But, for me, the decision to fill out a form is the least important part of the process.
“What matters is what Londoners want from their mayor, and what Conservative supporters in London want from a Tory mayoral candidate. That’s why I have spent the last few weeks – and will spend much of August and September – talking to people right across London and asking them what they think, what are the issues they want to see their mayor tackle, and what approach they want him or her to take.
“By the end of September, I will know whether I have the broad base of support that our mayoral candidate will need. And, at the point, I will set out my ideas on how to make London work better for all Londoners.”
Last month, lesbian businesswoman Margot James, vice-chairman of the Conservative party with responsibility for women told PinkNews.co.uk that she would not be a candidate for Mayor of London. “It’s a hard decision but parliament is my goal.”
“I feel like I’m letting everyone down but it’s the right decision. The party leadership were very keen on me and a number of others to come forward but I think that I will better serve the party from Parliament.”
Mr Boles unsuccessfully stood for Parliament in Hove during the last general election.
Conservative leader David Cameron announced last month that the party will test an American open primary system to select their next candidate for Mayor of London.
The winner will face the incumbent Labour mayor Ken Livingstone, often praised for his pro-gay credentials. The party hopes that an open selection will encourage minority candidates to emerge including candidates from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community.