Members of the Conservative party’s LGBTory group held a protest outside Ken Livingstone’s Soho fundraiser last night accusing the mayoral candidate of being ‘riddled with hypocrisy’.
The group were drawing attention to Mr Livingstone’s work for the Iranian Press TV channel which is owned by the homophobic state.
It also drew attention again to Mr Livingstone’s relationship with Islamic cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Dr Qawardi, who is banned from entering the US, has argued in the past that gays should be put to death and has also supported female genital mutilation and suicide bombings in Israel. Some of his statements have been filmed, while others were published as quotes on his personal website.
The LGBT fundraiser went west, from the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden to Soho’s Shadow Lounge but the campaign said it was to facilitate a bigger audience.
Matthew Sephton, Chairman of LGBTory commented: “Ken Livingstone makes a great show of supporting LGBT issues but associates himself with hate-preachers, oppressive regimes and those who refuse to tackle homophobia.
“He treats LGBT Londoners as just another voting block who are wooed when he needs them, and dismissed and offended when he needs someone else’s vote more.
“Whatever Ken Livingstone truly believes he has proven he is no friend of LGBT Londoners.”
Mr Livingstone’s campaign told PinkNews.co.uk: “The Tory gathering passed most party goers by – Ken included. Ken enjoyed meeting many members of London LGB&T community at Monday’s event including new faces and old friends he have been campaigning on gay rights with for over twenty years.”
Speaking to Gaydar Radio’s News Editor, Scott Roberts at the event last night, Mr Livingstone said the UK’s biggest police force needed to become “much more professional” when dealing with LGBT issues and said gay hate crime was not being “taken as seriously as it should be”.
He went on to say the Met was relying on too many “volunteers” for LGBT operations with “no training” and also suffering from a “high turnover”.
The London mayoral election takes place on 3 May.