A war of words has broken out in Wakefield over a topless photo. Former Tory council candidate Nathan Garbutt has resigned from the party after local activists allegedly tried to stop him posing for gay magazine Attitude .
Members of the Conservative Group on Wakefield council have dismissed his claims, and told Wakefield Today that Mr Garbutt, 21, left the party over a disagreement about policy.
Garbutt, who is openly gay, was approached by Attitude to take part in an article about gay activists in political parties. The magazine wanted him to pose topless.
In the local elections in May, Garbutt secured 900 votes in the Knottingley ward, but did not win the seat. The council is dominated by Labour, who have 41 councillors to 14 Tories.
Garbutt told Wakefield Today that he intends to stand as an independent at the next council elections, and was critical of his former party colleagues:
“Most Conservatives in Wakefield are grey-haired, grey suit-wearing, straight men. I was surprised by their reaction because I thought it was a brilliant opportunity to show we were more diverse than people think.
“I think they are worried that Wakefield people are strait-laced and it might reflect badly on them. If we were in Manchester or London, perhaps they would have been more open to it.”
The storm in a teacup contrasts with Tory efforts to portray themselves as a homo-friendly party.
Leader David Cameron affirmed his support for civil partnerships during his keynote speech to the party conference at the start of this month.
The party’s A-list of prospective parliamentary candidates has several prominent gay and lesbian names on it, including Margot James and Nicholas Boles.
Mr Garbutt has vowed to pose for Attitude , despite no longer being a member of the Tory party.
“I’m doing the shoot to prove politics isn’t just for the old and ugly,” he said.