The first openly gay mayor of Southwark, south-east London, has been elected.

Councillor Jeff Hook, whose full title will be The Worshipful The Mayor of Southwark, will take on the role for the 2009-10 period with his civil partner as his official consort.

Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk, Mr Hook said that although he is the first openly gay mayor in Southwark, he is not the first in the UK. Robert Crossman who served as Mayor of Islington in 1986-7, is believed to hold that title.

Regarding the importance of public figures’ openness about their sexuality, he said: “I’d like a situation where it’s not an issue. A gay person can ride to the top as much as anyone else.”

Mr Hook, the representative for Rotherhithe, reportedly took on tough competition in the run-up to being elected.

Asked what he would be doing to raise awareness of LGBT issues, Mr Hook said that alongside other schemes, Southwark traditionally has a strong presence at London Pride, and this year will be no different.

The mayor and his partner Alvin Foo Onn Lee had their civil partnership in the Town Hall council chamber.

Speaking of his plans for July 4th, Mr Hook said: “At 10.30am I’ll be unveiling a new horse trough, next I’m going to be opening the Rotherhithe Festival, and immediately after that I’ll be rushing to central London to join in the parade.”

He added: “We will have an open-top bus serving as the Southwark float, and I’ll be there in my mayoral robes and chain.”