Current Affairs

Gay Tory confirmed as chair of London Fire and Emergency Planning

Tony Grew May 23, 2008
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Brian Coleman has been unanimously recommended to the Mayor of London as the new chairman of the city’s Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.


 The London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, he appeared in front of the Assembly’s Confirmation Hearings Committee yesterday.


 “I am delighted to have not only the Mayor of London’s support but now all party support for this important and vital post,” he said.


 “I look forward to continuing to improve safety for all Londoners.”


 Mr Coleman was re-elected to the Assembly for a third term on May 1st.


He was the first Tory Chairman of the London Assembly in 2004, and has served twice as deputy chairman.


 Mr Coleman is one of a string of gay men occupying important positions in the new Boris Johnson administration.


Richard Barnes was one of several Deputy Mayors appointed by Boris Johnson after he defeated Ken Livingstone to become Mayor earlier this month.


A former leader of the Conservative administration in Hillingdon, he is the London Assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon.


Sir Simon Milton, leader of Westminster Council, was appointed Senior Adviser on Planning.

Knighted in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List, he publicly declared his sexuality and married his long-term partner Councillor Robert Davis at The Ritz hotel last year.


Nicholas Boles, who was favourite for the party’s nomination for Mayor of London until illness intervened, has been acting as interim Chief of Staff in the new administration.

He will stand down on July 7th.


Mr Boles, the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Grantham and Stamford, narrowly failed to take Hove in the 2005 general election.


A former director of think tank Policy Exchange, he is close friends with David and Samantha Cameron, Michael Gove and George Osborne, he is at the centre of the Notting Hill set.


Mr Coleman sparked controversy last year when he claimed that former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath was warned to stop having sex with men in public.

Sir Edward was told by police to stop cruising for sex as part of a vetting process in 1955, he said in an article for the New Statesman.


That year he became a Privy Councillor and Chief Whip under Prime Minister Anthony Eden.


“The late Ted Heath obtained the highest office of state after he was supposedly advised to cease his cottaging activities in the 1950s,” Mr Coleman wrote on the New Statesman’s website.


He claims that the police warning was common knowledge in the Tory party.


Senior Conservative MPs denied that Sir Edward was gay.


Sir Peter Tapsell, who became an MP in 1959, told The Mirror: “I knew him well and would be astonished if he was a practising homosexual.”


Sir Edward’s successor as MP for Bexley and Old Sidcup, Derek Conway, said:


“Ted was wedded to politics. He didn’t have a great deal of companionship but there are people capable of getting on with their lives without companionship.”


Sir Edward led the Conservative party from 1965 to 1975, and was Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974.


He never married and while many rumours about his sexuality circulated, it was generally thought he was married to his job.


If Mr Coleman’s assertion is correct, it means that Britain has already had a gay Prime Minister.


Heath died in 2005 aged 89.


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