Nick Boles, a Conservative seeking his party’s nomination to run against Ken Livingstone in next year’s election for Mayor of London has withdrawn from the race.

The 42-year-old has been diagnosed with cancer and is pulling out to undergo treatment.

Mr Boles, who is openly gay, was a parliamentary candidate in the 2005 election. He came within 500 votes of winning Hove.

Earlier this year he was ranked 27 in the Independent on Sunday Pink List of the most influential gay people in the UK.

“An influential member of the “Notting Hill set” and Cameron ally, Boles counters accusations of homophobia in the Tory party, stating: “Most prejudice in the party has degenerated. I think we now have the most gay candidates.” Boles set up a DIY supply firm in the mid-1990s,” read his entry.

Mr Boles today made the following announcement on his website:

“With great regret, I have decided not put myself forward as a prospective Conservative candidate for Mayor of London.

“I have just been diagnosed with early stage Hodgkins Lymphoma and am about to embark on several months of treatment at Kings College Hospital.

“The condition responds well to treatment and there is a very good chance that I will be completely cured.

“But I have to recognise that I am unlikely to be able to devote the necessary time and energy to the campaign and I do not think it would be right to ask Londoners – and the Conservative Party – to put their trust in me while the results of the treatment are still uncertain.”

Tory blogger Iain Dale told his readers this morning:

“I’ve just spoken to Nick and he is in good spirits but he faces a tough few months. I hope all of you will join me in wishing Nick all the best in his fight against this dreadful disease.”