Sir Elton John and his partner, the film producer David Furnish, are thought to be preparing to hold a fundraising dinner for Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London.
Brian Paddick, previously the most senior openly gay police officer in Britain told LBC last month that he was likely to be backed by the celebrity couple (transcript below).
Mr Paddick attended the couple’s wedding. They have an enviable address book and have consistently shown their stellar ability to raise money, particularly for Sir Elton’s AIDs foundation.
The backing is thought by some to be a move to make Mr Paddick more popular within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community who could contribute as many as 1 million votes in the election.
However, PinkNews.co.uk editor Tony Grew told The Sunday Times: “I wouldn’t say that he would have any special appeal because most gay people will be voting on everyday issues, such as transport and taxes.”
“Paddick is a political virgin,” he added.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari, Mr Paddick said that if elected he would alter the role of Police Community Support Officers in order to free police officers from paperwork and return them to frontline policing.
The 49-year-old faces incumbent Ken Livingstone and Tory candidate Boris Johnson in next May’s election.
Mr Paddick 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 policy was popular with locals, and his direct style of policing helped to foster a trust and respect with many who viewed the police with suspicion.
He has been critical of the decision of Prime Minister Gordon Brown to raise the classification of cannabis to a Class B substance, but said he thinks the drug is harmful.
Mr Paddick called for a public enquiry into the terrorist attacks on London on July 7th 2005, something the government insists is unnecessary.
The election for Mayor of London will be held on May 1st 2008. Mr Livingstone is seeking a third four-year term of office.
TRANSCRIPT OF LBC INTERVIEW
Nick Ferrari: Have you got any celebrity friends that are going to help you?
Brian Paddick: A couple of them have suggested they might help yes.
Nick Ferrari: And who might they be?
Brian Paddick: I wouldn’t want spoil the surprise.
Nick Ferrari: Let me put it another way, it’s been suggested to me that you are quite friendly with Sir Elton John and David Furnish and they might come out and help you in some fashion and support you, do something.
Brian Paddick: Yes I’ve heard that one as well.
Nick Ferrari: Don’t be all, we all like you because you’re not a politician. Is that true?
Brian Paddick: Yes it is.