Mayor of London candidate Brian Paddick has revealed he has always been a Liberal Democrat at heart, even in his former role as Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Paddick, who spoke a conference event in Brighton yesterday said:

“Yes, I’ve been an undercover Liberal Democrat.

“Under that blue uniform there was a gold one. I’ll leave that to your imagination.”

The openly gay candidate criticised stop and search tactics on ethnic minorities, the government’s response to gun crime and claimed that police officers should be patrolling the inner city rather than community support officers.

He also said he would try to reach a no-strike agreement with the RMT tube union to avoid future disruption to commuters, should he become mayor.

Mr Paddick was the UK’s most senior out gay policeman until his retirement in May this year.

He came to public prominence as borough commander of Lambeth, when his policy of targeting resources at class A drug dealers and taking a more relaxed approach to cannabis use caused right-wing outrage.

The other two Liberal Democrat candidates for the party’s nomination for Mayor of London, Chamali Fernando, a barrister from Finchley and Fiyaz Mughal, a Haringey councillor also addressed the conference.